Stoppage-time winner keeps Arsenal hopes alive

Arsenal 1 Wolves 0

Nicklas Bendtner came off the bench to head a dramatic stoppage-time winner and keep Arsenal's Barclays Premier League title dreams alive with a narrow win over 10-man Wolves at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners - outplayed by Barcelona for large spells at home on Tuesday night - made seven changes to their starting XI as manager Arsene Wenger clearly had one eye on next week's Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Nou Camp.

However, despite dominating the home side could not find a breakthrough until deep into five minutes of stoppage time.

Wolves defended bravely and overcame the sending off of captain Karl Henry for a late challenge on Tomas Rosicky only to be denied when Bendtner headed in what could prove to be the young Dane's most vital strike yet.

Bendtner also netted a last-gasp strike as the Gunners defeated Hull last month.

The victory keeps Arsenal on the coat tails of Chelsea and Manchester United with five games remaining.

After Chelsea went back to the top of the table with their controversial 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, Wenger knew there was little margin for error if Arsenal wanted to keep pace as the title race heats up.

Theo Walcott - recalled to the team after his goal against Barcelona - weaved his way into the Wolves box after cutting in from the right, before chipping the ball back across goal where Eduardo forced goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann into a fine, one-handed reaction save.

Wolves defender Michael Mancienne charged forwards and let fly from 25 yards, which was just off target.

Arsenal went close again when Rosicky pulled the ball back through a crowded six-yard box to find Eduardo, but the Croatian could only stab the ball wide as he lost balance.

Walcott then released right-back Bacary Sagna on the overlap into the Wolves penalty area, and his shot was blocked by Hahnemann.

After 15 minutes, the French defender was in again, this time sliding to hook the ball to Emmanuel Eboue, whose attempted backheel hit his trailing leg.

Arsenal continued to press, with Walcott testing Hahnemann with a 20-yard snap-shot after the ball dropped to him from a corner.

Although it continued to be one-way traffic, Wolves remained solid.

Rosicky created some space for himself on the edge of the area, but could only fire his shot high into the stands, while Denilson then drilled a low effort wide and Mikael Silvestre tested the Wolves goalkeeper again.

Arsenal maintained the pressure at the start of the second half as Silvestre flashed a low centre across goal.

Alex Song collected the ball 30 yards out and charged forwards, only to blaze his shot wide.

Walcott continued to be Arsenal's main attacking outlet, but the home side lacked any real presence in the Wolves box

Eduardo volleyed wide after reacting quickly to a high ball.

As the hour mark approached, Rosicky cut in from the right and fired a low, angled drive goalwards, which Hahnemann was again behind.

There was still a threat from Wolves, though, as winger Matthew Jarvis flashed a couple of dangerous balls into the Arsenal six-yard box.

After 66 minutes, Wolves captain Henry was shown a straight red by referee Andre Marriner for needlessly going through the back of Rosicky, who was facing his own goal in the centre-circle.

The Czech midfielder needed treatment to his calf, but was soon back on the pitch and forced Hahnemann into another good reaction save before Bendtner stretched the American with a looping header.

Rosicky cleared off the line as Sol Campbell deflected the ball towards his own goal following a Wolves corner.

Arsenal sent on Mexican Carlos Vela to try to find a way through.

Walcott stabbed a close-range effort wide during five minutes of stoppage time.

Then, just when it seemed all over, Sagna whipped the ball into the six-yard box where Bendtner arrived to bullet a header past Hahnemann as the Emirates Stadium erupted.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss