English Premiership

Van Persie saves Arsenal's day

2011-10-16 16:49
Robin van Persie (AP)

London - Robin van Persie reinforced his importance to Arsenal's prospects this season with the two goals that secured a 2-1 victory over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Van Persie has emerged as the Gunners' most influential figure in the wake of the departures of former skipper Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

The Holland international has been one of the few Arsenal players to impress during a depressing start to the campaign and was once again the stand-out figure, opening the scoring after 31 seconds and securing the win with a late free kick after Sebastian Larsson had levelled in the 31st minute.

Arsenal's display was hardly convincing but after a difficult two months, it was the result that mattered to boss Arsene Wenger and his players.

For Sunderland there was only more disappointment. Steve Bruce's side have also struggled, leading to growing scrutiny about the manager's future and they are only above the relegation zone on goal difference.

The international break had given Arsenal plenty of time to stew on the defeat to Tottenham in the north London derby last time out.

That result prompted Wenger to concede that his team could not be regarded as title challengers until they made a significant impression on the 12-point gap that had opened up between themselves and the early leaders.

Initially there were few signs that Wenger's players were weighed down by their early season plight and they could not have wished for a better start.

Tomas Rosicky released Gervinho down the left and when the Ivorian squared for Van Persie the Arsenal captain produced an emphatic finish from the edge of the box to put the home side ahead before many supporters had even taken their seats.

Van Persie had rejected claims his commitment to Arsenal was wavering in his match-day programme notes and his performance during the opening 25 minutes eloquently supported his case.

He came within inches of claiming a second after a sublime turn and chip that struck the inside of the post.

Gervinho also had a good opportunity to add a second but having withstood early home pressure without conceding a second goal, Sunderland began to force their way into the game, helped in no small part by a succession of Arsenal errors.

Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny was guilty of providing the visitors with timely lift when he raced out of his area only to arrive late, allowing Stephane Sessegnon to round him before the danger was eventually snuffed out by hastily backtracking defenders.

Moments later a free kick, clumsily conceded by Mikel Arteta, granted Bruce's side a route back into the game with Larsson lifting the ball over the defensive wall and into the far corner for the equaliser.

Suddenly Arsenal's earlier swagger disappeared and Wenger's side looked anxious and gripped by nerves.

Carl Jenkinson was caught in possession by Larsson and it took a superb point-blank save by Szczesny to deny Lee Cattermole's header.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Sessegnon was allowed to cross from the right and Jack Colback should have done better when he connected with Larsson's nod down with a left foot volley.

The introduction of Andrey Arshavin for Gervinho midway through the second period provided the home side with more drive in the final third and the Russia international came close when he stabbed a shot wide after slaloming his way past three defenders.

Yet inevitably it was left to van Persie to ensure Arsenal avoided dropping more points.

With eight minutes remaining the Dutchman took charge of a free kick having seen several of his team-mates squander similar opportunities and produced a strike every bit as impressive as Larsson's earlier effort.

Read more on:    epl  |  robin van persie


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks more focused after Japan shock
Ireland recall Toner, Healy for France
LIVE: New Zealand v Tonga
Pumas, Namibia make 11 changes each
17 October 2015
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, White Hart Lane 13:45
Manchester City v Bournemouth, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 16:00
Crystal Palace v West Ham United, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Aston Villa, Stamford Bridge 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Arsenal, Vicarage Road 18:30
18 October 2015
Newcastle United v Norwich City, St. James' Park 17:00
19 October 2015
Swansea City v Stoke City, Liberty Stadium 21:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who was the best summer signing in the EPL?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.