Van Persie's late strike rescues Arsenal
London: Robin van Persie gave Arsenal's stuttering Premier League campaign a boost yesterday by curling home a late free kick to earn the team a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
The Netherlands striker added to the opener he scored for the north London club after just 29 seconds by stepping up in the 83rd minute to hit the winner with a sublime effort from 25 metres for his fifth goal of the season.
Sweden winger Sebastian Larsson had equalised for Sunderland against his former club in the 31st minute with a free kick just as impressive as Van Persie's, but the struggling visitors failed to hold on in the face of a spirited late effort by the hosts.
Arsenal's third straight victory at the Emirates lifted it to 10th place in the table as Arsene Wenger's team looks to rebound after a poor start to the season that included an 8-2 defeat at Manchester United.
The Gunners look as if they will invariably have to lean heavily on Van Persie, the team's captain and attacking fulcrum, to have any chance of climbing back into the top four — where they have been habitually finished during Wenger's 15-year reign.
The Dutchman's first goal, which came when he ran onto Gervinho's through-ball and fired a low shot into the corner, was the quickest in the Premier League in nearly four years.
And after taking the lead, Arsenal appeared ready to run away as Van Persie chipped a superb angled shot back off the far post in the 12th minute before curling just wide from 25 metres soon after.
Sunderland's defence appeared at a standstill as Gervinho fired over from a good position before a dip by the hosts allowed Sunderland to get back in it at the Emirates stadium.