Arsenal will respect Van Persie, says Wenger

The Netherlands striker returns to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as a champion with Manchester United, but the Gunners boss says they will treat their former hero with respect

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will be treated with respect when he returns to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Netherlands striker left the club last summer in search of trophies after eight years in north London, joining Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in a £24 million deal.

Van Persie fired the Red Devils to the Premier League trophy with a hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday, meaning he and the rest of the Manchester United team will be awarded a guard of honour by Arsenal on Sunday.

It is a gesture set to rile Gunners fans, who are still furious about his departure, but Wenger says their former strike hero will be shown respect.

“We will respect the players that have played for us a long time as we always have done and treat them well before and after the game,” he told reporters.

“As a champion or not as a champion it is exactly the same. What I want is for us to have a good game and to beat them, it doesn’t matter what kind of status they come with.”

Arsenal are hunting for a top four finish alongside London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea and Nacho Monreal hopes that pre-match talk about Van Persie does not come as a distraction, with the Gunners needing to be wary of the whole United team.

“Their players are of the highest level, you can’t just focus on one player because their team is full of players who can create and score,” Monreal said.

“We must be on our guard and be aware of certain key players, like Robin, who has scored a sack of goals this year and is playing well. He is one of their main threats.”

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