Gunners set sights on third place
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Arsenal 3
Wednesday 11 April 2012
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.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians