Arsenal to give Manchester United and Van Persie a guard of honour at the Emirates stadium

Reluctant Arsenal players are privately unhappy about giving newly crowned champions Manchester United — and their former captain, Robin van Persie — a guard of honour when they meet at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday - but they are still expected to perform the honour.

A guard of honour is a tradition in games involving teams who have just won the title. Privately, a number of Arsenal players have expressed objections towards the gesture, particularly in front of their own supporters, but it is understood it will still go ahead.

Arsenal’s pain will be offset by a £1.5million bonus they will receive due to a clause inserted in Van Persie’s contract when he signed last summer. The clause was activated when United won the title.

There has been on official word from Arsenal but the occasion demands that they applaud United on to the pitch just before kick-off.

It is the right thing to do.

Just over 20 years ago, when Arsenal won the league title in 1991 under George Graham, they were congratulated by United’s players ahead of their First Division fixture at Highbury.

Steve Bruce, Paul Ince, Brian McClair and Mark Hughes were among them, forming a guard of honour in their blue shirts as the champions emerged from that tight tunnel at Highbury.