Stunning Van Persie volley sinks Everton
Saturday 10 December 2011
Robin van Persie smashed a stunning volley as good as any in
Arsenal's 125-year history to give the Gunners a 1-0 win over Everton at
the Emirates Stadium.
The in-form Dutchman took his tally to 19 for the season with a superb left-foot strike in the 70th minute which proved enough for all three points and took Arsenal back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.
Everton had defended well and looked dangerous on the break, but were undone by a moment of pure genius, which was applauded by Arsenal's record goalscorer Thierry Henry, watching on from the stands.
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 Henry - who yesterday 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 Alex 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 Johnny 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 Champions League defeat at Olympiacos, 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.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Premier League Power Rankings: Eden Hazard and Harry Kane continue to slip but Wayne Rooney has to perform against rivals
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be