Gunners set sights on third place

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 3

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a Champions League spot as early goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott put them on the way to a comfortable win over 10-man Wolves at Molineux.

Van Persie scored the opener from the penalty spot after Wolves' on-loan defender Sebastien Bassong was sent off for bringing down Walcott, who added a second a minute later.

Yossi Benayoun netted the third after the break and the Gunners are now five points clear of fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League with just five games remaining.

In contrast, bottom side Wolves moved a step closer to relegation after a seventh successive defeat.

The two early goals and Bassong's departure effectively killed the game as a contest, although the home side could not be faulted for effort with Kevin Doyle impressing as the lone striker.

Arsenal's turnaround has been remarkable as they registered a ninth win in 10 games after trailing Spurs at the start of February by eight points.

Van Persie had the first attempt on goal after his own corner had been cleared straight back to him, but the striker's low volley was comfortably dealt with by Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Matt Jarvis posed the first moment of danger to the Gunners but his probing centre just eluded Doyle at the far post.

After eight minutes Van Persie put Arsenal ahead from the penalty spot as Wolves were reduced to 10 men.

Bassong was adjudged to have brought down Walcott as he raced onto Benayoun's pass and was sent off by referee Neil Swarbrick.

Van Persie stepped up and coolly dinked the ball over Hennessey after he had dived to the right for his 34th goal of the season and first in five matches.

Wolves made an instant substitution with centre-back Christophe Berra replacing midfielder David Davis as they reverted to a 4-4-1 system.

However, they could not handle the pace of Walcott and he doubled Arsenal's lead after 10 minutes.

The England player exchanged passes with Van Persie before curling the ball past Hennessey into the corner of the net.

In a rare Wolves attack Berra had a header deflected wide from a Michael Kightly corner.

Santos screwed a shot across the face of goal but the Gunners looked to have lost some of their early intensity, such was their control of the game.

Arsenal were soon back on the offensive in the second half and Aaron Ramsey had a shot blocked by Richard Stearman after a run into the box before Mikel Arteta teed up a good chance which Van Persie fired wide.

Wolves were showing plenty of fight and a superb save from Wojciech Szczesny denied Doyle.

Jarvis sent over a perfect cross for the Republic of Ireland international but his header was palmed away by Szczesny at full stretch.

However, Benayoun ended the mini revival by making it 3-0 after 68 minutes. Milijas lost the ball in midfield and Song teed up Benayoun 20 yards out to beat Hennessey with a low drive.

Doyle had a shot blocked by Johan Djourou as Wolves searched for a consolation goal.

Arsenal substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then had an effort from the edge of the box deflected past the post as his side ended the match on the offensive.

Wolves ended with a flourish as Szczesny turned aside a Milijas drive in injury-time, but they were well beaten.

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
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
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition