RVP rocket inspires Gunners
Van Persie strike seals win over Everton
Last Updated: December 10, 2011 7:42pm
Robin van Persie produced a special moment to clinch victory for Arsenal
Robin van Persie's wonderful winner against Everton lifted Arsenal into the top four of the Premier League on a special day at Emirates Stadium.
There was a parade of club legends before kick-off to mark Arsenal's 125th anniversary, but the current crop looked far from inspired as they took to the field and played out a goalless first half.
Everton offered virtually nothing as an attacking force and it was the Gunners who carved out a couple of good chances, but they were not clinical enough to make the breakthrough.
The game looked destined to finish goalless as David Moyes' resolute Everton continued to provide stubborn resistance after the break, but Van Persie produced another breathtaking moment in his remarkable 2011 to clinch all three points for Arsenal.
Alex Song picked out the Dutchman with a clever chipped pass and he showed expert technique to guide a left-footed volley in off the post after 70 minutes.
Guard of honour
Gunners legends from Frank McLintock, Double-winning captain in 1971, along with striker Charlie George, record appearance holder David O'Leary, 1989 title-winning manager George Graham, through to Invincibles Robert Pires, Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry - who on Friday witnessed a bronze statue of himself being unveiled outside the ground - all helped make up a guard of honour as Van Persie led the current side onto the field.
Once the pre-match formalities were over, Arsenal - looking for a sixth win in eight league games - started brightly, with Theo Walcott and Ivory Coast forward Gervinho looking lively down the right.
Everton, who had won two from their last three, had a decent spell and forced a couple of corners which caused Arsenal concern.
Arsenal should have been ahead in the 15th minute when Mikel Arteta, signed from the Toffees on August transfer deadline day, put Walcott clear into the right side of the Everton area. He squared across the face of goal but Gervinho got his timing wrong and allowed it to run wide, with Tony Hibbert eventually making a block.
Arsenal continued to press and Wales captain Aaron Ramsey was unfortunate to see his shot on the turn float just over after being played into the Everton penalty area by Song.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard then got down well to beat away Gervinho's angled drive.
Walcott got to the byline again and then cut the ball back through a crowded six-yard box, but it was hacked clear.
There was a scare for Arsenal at the start of the second half when Walcott fell awkwardly on his knee, but the England man soon returned to the action.
The Gunners continued to press, but once more Everton had plenty of men back and covered the space well, Dutchman John Heitinga enjoying a fine game.
Walcott skipped past Leighton Baines in the 56th minute and into the right side of the area, where his fierce angled drive was beaten away by Howard.
Thomas Vermaelen, playing at left-back because of injury to Andre Santos in the midweek UEFA Champions League defeat at Olympiakos, then had to be alert to put a deep cross from the left behind as Tim Cahill looked to ghost in at the far post.
Everton made a change in the 64th minute when striker Louis Saha was replaced by defender Sylvain Distin.
Despite the tactical switch Everton swept forwards, with captain Phil Neville chipping over from 18 yards.
Then out of nothing, Van Persie netted a stunning volley to give Arsenal the lead with 20 minutes to go.
Song chipped the ball across the Everton back line, where Van Persie had drifted behind his marker to dispatch a sublime left-foot strike in off the far post.
Everton substitute Conor McAleny flashed a drive just wide in stoppage-time but Arsenal went on to mark the occasion with a victory as their resurgence continued.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||0|
|6||Shots off Target||9|
|60||1st Half Poss.||40|
|63||2nd Half Poss.||37|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|