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Plays of the Day: Man United 'favouritism' spot-on

ESPN staff
November 3, 2012
Wayne Rooney dragged his penalty wide against Arsenal © PA Photos
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Di Matteo spot on
Saturday began with Roberto Di Matteo claiming Manchester United are favoured by referees, so we at ESPN - always keen to act impartially when discussing Sir Alex Ferguson's flukey side - decided to check if Di Matteo had a point. Here's what we found. Wayne Rooney's missed penalty (woeful by the way) was the 10th spot-kick awarded in Premier League games between Manchester United and Arsenal. ALL TEN have been awarded at Old Trafford, and EIGHT given to United.

Can't see where Di Matteo's coming from.

Van Persie's got the Ex-Factor
It took less than three minutes for Robin van Persie to remind Arsenal just what they are missing with an early goal as United beat the Gunners 2-1 at Old Trafford. Fair play to Van Persie, who celebrated his goal like a snooker player apologising for fluking the black into middle pocket. That did not stop the Arsenal faithful booing their former skipper, although maybe their attentions should have been targeted at the horrendous Andre Santos.

Who needs RvP when we've got….errrr….Giroud
While Van Persie showcased his superb striker's instincts, Arsenal were left to rue the slightly less prolific Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman got himself in the perfect position in the first half, but his finishing left a lot to be desired as his header looped miles over the bar. To illustrate the point, Arsenal's first attempt on target came in the 92nd minute, but at least Wenger can count his millions this evening.

Shirt amnesty
With United leading 1-0 at half-time thanks to Van Persie's strike, the Dutchman swapped shirts with former team-mate Andre Santos who desperately ran up to him to make sure nobody else beat him to the honour. Santos had been awful for 45 minutes, but nevertheless we're sure Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry would have approached Roy Keane in the same way.

A-V...gee
Tottenham were roundly booed off the park by their own fans at White Hart Lane, after they were beaten 1-0 by Wigan. Chief culprit appeared to be Andre Villas-Boas, who was jeered by the home support when - trailing 1-0 - he took off top scorer Jermain Defoe for Emmanuel Adebayor. The change didn't work, and Spurs lost back-to-back home league games for the first time since September 2008. Anyone got 'Arry's number?

A day Ful of shocks
You could forgive Fulham for allowing Everton back into the game at Craven Cottage, after they led 1-0 at half-time only to draw 2-2. Everton had scored the lowest proportion of second-half goals in the Premier League this season, but Marouane Fellaini managed two in west London.

Could still learn a thing or two off Lee Carsley for our liking.

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