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Van Persie sets tone as Gunners push 10-man Wolves closer to drop

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Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie

There were only two roads out of Molineux last night and Arsenal and Wolves could not have been travelling in more opposite directions.

Subdued, indisciplined and disorientated, Wolves have now lost eight out of their last nine games and are quite clearly now heading at some speed in the direction of the Championship.

Arsenal, by contrast, were recording an eighth win in nine matches and, after a season that began with such disquiet, are relentlessly moving towards a 15th consecutive appearance in the Champions League.

The gap over Tottenham in fourth now stands at five points.

Theo Walcott and Yossi Benayoun were among Arsenal's scorers, but this match was encapsulated by Arsenal's first goal.

The scorer was Robin van Persie, who had the cheek to chip his penalty past Wayne Hennessey after nine minutes.

SUPERIORITY

It was as much a taunt as a goal and summed up Arsenal's total superiority after Sebastien Bassong had been sent off for a foul on Walcott.

With other results also going against them last night and only five matches left, the gap between Wolves and safety is now surely insurmountable at nine points.

It took just nine minutes for a tall order to get even tougher. Van Persie had gone four matches without scoring but there has been no discernible impact on his confidence as he was audacious enough to gently chip his penalty down the middle of the goal.

It was one of those penalties that can either make you look very stupid or very clever. Inevitably, in the case of Van Persie, it was the latter as Hennessey dived to his right and the ball gently nestled into the centre of the net. Van Persie has now scored 45 times in his past 50 Premier League games.

The wave of fury seemed also to affect the team and, within two minutes, Arsenal were 2-0 ahead as Walcott and Van Persie combined for the former to slot home.

It contributed to a strange atmosphere, with no shortage of gallows humour from Wolves fans.

With the match not even 30 minutes old, the home supporters were even mocking Arsenal for not being further ahead. "You've only scored two, how s*** must you be, you've only scored two," they sang.

It took until 20 minutes remaining for the song to be redundant as Alex Song set up Benayoun to score and give a fairer reflection of the visitors' dominance. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent