Van Persie earns draw for United on Arsenal return

ArsenalManchester United's Wayne Rooney (C) is challenged by Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium in north London April 28, 2013.(Reuters)

Robin van Persie marked his return to Arsenal by scoring a penalty amid a chorus of boos to give newly crowned Premier League champion Manchester United a 1-1 draw on Sunday that also hurt his former team's chances of making the Champions League.

Arsenal fans had already had to watch their team form a guard of honor for Van Persie and his United team before kickoff at the Emirates Stadium to salute the new champions.

The crowd then reveled in Van Persie giving the ball away inside two minutes to allow Theo Walcott to put Arsenal in front. But after Van Persie was brought down by Bacary Sagna just before halftime, the former Arsenal captain sent the spot kick into the net.

"They loved him so today it was a little bit disappointed love,'' Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, before adding: "I don't think he scored, he scored a penalty. It counts but it's not completely the same.''

Having scored his 31st goal this season since defecting last August in a 24 million-pound (then $36 million) transfer, Van Persie then embraced his former teammates after the draw.

"He's in our dressing room at the moment because the food is better in our dressing room than their dressing room,'' Wenger said. ``Our defenders didn't make life easy for him at all. We played with great commitment. And I feel our two central defenders played very well.''

The draw meant Arsenal was dislodged from third place by Chelsea, which beat Swansea 2-0 as it looks to secure one of the top four Champions League qualification spots.

"If we win our games it will be enough and I'm convinced we will be there,'' Wenger said. ``There is no room for dropping points but the other teams are in the same position.''

And United, which is yet to be presented with the Premier League trophy, now cannot surpass Chelsea's record tally of 95 points with three games left.

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