Arsenal turn on the one-twos but Wolves' number is up

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 3


Only Arsenal's haste and the speed of Wolverhampton Wanderers' latest nosedive caused surprise. That the visitors condemned the division's hopelessly adrift bottom team to a ninth consecutive home defeat was utterly predictable.

With help they probably didn't need in the form of a man advantage, Arsène Wenger's side secured a ninth victory in 10 league matches, a fourth clean sheet in five and established a five-point cushion in third place in the race for Champions League qualification. No help here for the chasing pack of Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Chelsea, then, however unexpected it would have been.

The game was effectively over after eight minutes, with Arsenal's supporters rejoicing both in the sending-off of Wolves' on-loan Spurs centre-half Sebastien Bassong and a goal.


Theo Walcott played a one-two with Robin van Persie and raced into the area, where he was floored from behind by a tangle of feet and a nudge. The penalty award looked justified and Neil Swarbrick, deeming Bassong to be the last man, ordered him off.

"Excessive punishment" was the Wolves manager Terry Connor's view. "A bit harsh but they're the rules," Wenger reasoned, his eyebrows having been raised by how Van Persie dinked the cheekiest of kicks down the middle.

The goal meant Wolves have now gone 30 league games without keeping a clean sheet – ammunition enough for Richard Stearman to retrieve the ball from the net and boot it towards the posse of celebrating Arsenal players near the corner flag.

It also created a slice of Arsenal history, as disclosed by their manager. "Robin has equalled the record of Ian Wright by scoring against 17 different teams out of 19 in a season (the odd ones out are Fulham and Manchester City). That is absolutely remarkable in the modern game and I'd like to congratulate him. It's something sensational."

Wolves fans, their perceived feeling of injustice heightened by memories of Nenad Milijas's red card at the Emirates over Christmas and that of Karl Henry at the same venue two seasons ago, saw their side breached again barely 90 seconds after the breakthrough. Walcott once more exchanged a one-two with Van Persie and advanced at pace before this time driving in firm and low at the near post.

Two goals adrift and a man down in 10 minutes: last season's meeting here, in which Wolves fell behind in 38 seconds, certainly looked highly promising by comparison.

Remarkably, Wayne Hennessey's goalmouth was barely threatened for the rest of the half and Christophe Berra, introduced early as a damage-limitation exercise, even saw a header deflected wide by an Arsenal defence unable to call on Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs. "We played a bit with the handbrake on after the strong start," Wenger said.

Van Persie, having ended a four-match barren run that was his worst spell this season, might have added to his 38-goal season tally for club and country. But he settled instead for dispossessing Milijas in the 69th minute, finding Alex Song and seeing Yossi Benayoun crack right-footed past the static Hennessey from his fellow midfielder's pass.

Only a brave save at close quarters by Hennessey from Aaron Ramsey denied Arsenal a fourth goal following the Dutchman's pull-back but Wolves played with enormous heart in pursuit of morsels, backed throughout by a healthy helping of gallows humour from Molineux's South Bank.

Wolves have now taken one point out of 24 under Connor's leadership. They now effectively stand 10 points short of 17th place and are going down with a right thump.

For Arsenal, the horizons are vastly different but Wenger is taking nothing for granted. "We still have to be very focused," he said. Obviously, someone had reminded him the next game is against Wigan Athletic.

Man of match Walcott.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee N Swarbrick (Lancs).

Attendance 25,815.

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Flat out: Michael Flatley will return to the stage in his show Lord Of The Dance
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape