Robin van Persie lifted the gloom around Arsenal as the Dutch forward’s double, which included a 29-second opener, clinched a much-needed 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Van Persie insisted in the club’s matchday programme that he has no intention of following Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri out of the Emirates and then underlined his commitment with a man of the match display capped by a brilliant winner with just eight minutes left.
Arsene Wenger’s side kicked-off just two points above the relegation zone after their worst start to a season for 58 years.
But Arsenal will always be a threat while they have van Persie and the Gunners captain showed his class with a cool finish after only 29 seconds.
Sunderland gave the ball away from the kick-off and when Gervinho crossed low into the penalty area, van Persie dummied Wes Brown before firing past Simon Mignolet to score the club’s fastest ever Premier League goal and the quickest in the top-flight this season.
Former Arsenal winger Sebastian Larsson equalised in sublime fashion as the Swede curled a brilliant shot beyond Wojciech Szczesny from 25 yards in the 31st minute
Szczesny then had to make a fine stop from Lee Cattermole’s close-range header to deny Sunderland a second goal.
But van Persie saved his best until last as he stepped up to bend a superb free-kick over theSunderlandwall and into the top corner in the 82nd minute.
That was enough to give Arsenal only their third win in eight league games and lift Wenger’s men into 10th place, while strugglingSunderlandare above the relegation zone on goal difference.
“We had a good start for 25 minutes but as soon asSunderlandequalised the confidence started to wobble a bit,” Wenger said.
“The second half was all us but we needed something special from Robin van Persie to make the difference.”
by Buford Balony