Robin van Persie will stand in the Manchester United tunnel on Saturday afternoon with a very unfamiliar feeling. Standing just a few feet away will be his former team-mates and undoubtedly many of his close friends.

It was more than a year ago that Van Persie stood in the same tunnel, ready to lead his side out at Old Trafford, only to return to the changing rooms utterly dejected after an embarrassing 8-2 humiliation.

Robin van Persie
Will Van Persie be celebrating against Arsenal [Reuters]

Now he prepares to face his former employers for the very first time and he remains in the form of his life. Finishing last season as the top scorer in the Premier League, Van Persie has maintained his impressive striker rate and already has nine goal in just 12 appearances for Manchester United.

It is sure to be an emotional fixture for a striker who was worshipped by the Arsenal fans; even more so after seeing the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all quit the club in search of major honours.

Eventually Van Persie decided to follow in their footsteps, it was not money that motivated the Dutch striker, but the chance to finally win a major trophy and add to the single FA Cup [and the Community Shield] that he won at Arsenal.

His move seems justified with United currently second in the league and having won all three fixtures in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Arsenal are sixth and suffered a surprise loss to Schalke that leaves them fighting for qualification in Europe.

Van Persie is bound to receive a hostile reception from the small group of Arsenal fans inside Old Trafford but it certain to have little effect on a striker at the top of his game. The Gunners have conceded some poor goals defensively in recent weeks and after the 7-5 game against Reading, the United striker must be salivating at the thought of heaping further misery of the Arsenal backline.

Despite the Arsenal fans surely fearing the worst at seeing Van Persie in the red of Manchester United, they will be hoping that the current subject of their admiration can overshadow the performance of the Dutchman.

Jack WIlshere made his long awaited return, after 17 months on the sidelines, against QPR last weekend and there were signs that he had not missed a beat. In 67 minutes the midfield magician completed 44 of his 47 passes.

Jack Wilshere
Wilshere will hope to inspire Arsenal to victory [Reuters]

He spent the vast majority of the game in the attacking third, searching for the right pass and intrinsically linking the player with clever passes and intelligent movement.

The 20-year-old will certainly enjoy playing with Santi Cazorla, the duo are bound to be on a similar wavelength and will hope that they can make the most of Manchester United's somewhat suspect defence.

United have conceded two goals in five Premier League games this season and have already been beaten at Old Trafford by one north London club in Tottenham earlier this season.

Then it was the directness of Gareth Bale and the clever passing of Moussa Dembele that did the damage. Arsenal will hope that Wilshere and either Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can have the same success.

It will be the two clubs 48<sup>th meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger at the helm, with United holding the advantage with 21 wins to Arsenal's 15.

With so many goals being scored and conceded in recent weeks [United's last game ending in a 5-3 loss to Chelsea, while Arsenal won 7-5} it seems that goals will be inevitable. But will it be Wilshere or Van Persie celebrating at the final whistle?