Manchester

Manchester United's Rooney celebrates scoring with team mates against Arsenal during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Picture - Reuters.

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Despite the fragile state Arsenal find themselves in, not many expected such a thrashing at the hands of Manchester United in Old Trafford.

Over the goals, it was also the manner in which United dominated proceedings using their immense pace wisely. It was a performance which was scary when put in context that the average age of the United squad is 23 and 191 days.

Arsenal will be left wondering whether things would have been any different had captain Robin Van Persie converted a first half penalty, which would levelled scores at 1-1 after Danny Welbeck had opened the scoring after getting to the end of Anderson's lofted ball to head over Szczesny.

As it turned out, United scored their second moments after the David De Gea's penalty save, when Ashley Young curled in from distance. Wayne Rooney then scored the first of his hat-trick, curling in a free kick into the far post.

At the stroke of half-time, Theo Walcott gave Arsenal something to build on after making it 3-1. However, any hope the visitors had of scoring taking the initiative in the second half was quashed when Rooney scored his second in much the same as his first - a swerwing free-kick into the far post, four minutes past the hour mark.

Three minutes later, abysmal Arsenal defending saw Nani played onside and alone with the keeper. He chipped it over Szczesny, as Arsene Wenger painted a depressing picture in the touchline.

At 70 minutes, Substitute Park Ji-Sung got into the act minutes after coming on, making the score 6-1. Four minutes later, Arsenal got one back when Van Persie smashed in at the far post.

That only seemed to push United for more, and 10 minutes later, Rooney got his hat-trick after calmly slotting in from the spot, after Walcott had felled Young in the box.

Ashley Young got his second in injury time, as Wenger prepared to face the ire of the fans.