Any attempt from Arsenal fans to deflect yesterday’s humiliating defeat by pointing to their injured and suspended players has been dismissed by captain Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman, whose penalty was saved by David De Gea at 1-0, has reminded people that United were also missing players.

Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Rafael Da Silva and Antonio Valencia were all missing for United.

“This was the strongest team we had,” Van Persie said. “We gave our maximum but it was clearly not good enough. I don’t think we can hide behind injuries or suspensions. It is no excuse. They had injuries too, this is football.”