Dutchman brace sinks Sunderland
Robin van Persie lifted the gloom around Arsenal as the Dutch forward's double clinched a much-needed 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.sports Updated: Oct 17, 2011 00:16 IST
Robin van Persie lifted the gloom around Arsenal as the Dutch forward's double clinched a much-needed 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Van Persie insisted in the club's matchday programme that he has no intention of following Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri out of the Emirates and then underlined his commitment with a man of the match display capped by a brilliant winner with just eight minutes left.
Arsene Wenger's side kicked-off just two points above the relegation zone after their worst start to a season for 58 years.
But Arsenal will always be a threat while they have van Persie and the Gunners captain showed his class with a cool finish after only 29 seconds.
Sunderland gave the ball away from the kick-off and when Gervinho crossed low into the penalty area, van Persie dummied Wes Brown before firing past Simon Mignolet to score the club's fastest ever Premier League goal and the quickest in the top-flight this season.
Former Arsenal winger Sebastian Larsson equalised in sublime fashion as the Swede curled a brilliant shot beyond Wojciech Szczesny from 25 yards in the 31st minute.
But van Persie saved his best until last as he stepped up to bend a superb free-kick over the Sunderland wall and into the top corner in the 82nd minute.
Earlier, West Bromwich Albion climbed out of the relegation zone after defeating bitter rivals Wolves 2-0 in the Black Country derby at the Hawthorns.
Roy Hodgson's side started the day third bottom of the table with just one win in their seven league games, but goals from Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie ended that dismal run and lifted them to 12th.
Napoli, inter lose, milan triumph
Napoli missed the chance to top Serie A after a shock 2-1 home defeat by Parma on Saturday as champions AC Milan hit form with a 3-0 win over Palermo and Inter Milan lost at Catania.
Parma's Francesco Modesto struck the winner against Napoli eight minutes from time after Napoli's Giuseppe Mascara had equalised following Massimo Gobbi's 57th-minute opener.
Milan's Antonio Nocerino, scoring against his former club, Robinho and Antonio Cassano were all on target as Milan cruised past a disappointing Palermo in a 3-0 win.
Earlier, Inter suffered their fourth loss in their six Serie A matches this season, going down 2-1 at Catania.
League leaders Juventus were held 0-0 by Chievo Verona on Sunday.
Barca win, Hat-trick for Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain bagged a remarkable third hat-trick in two weeks to steer Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday while Lionel Messi's double kept Barcelona top of La Liga with a 3-0 victory over Racing Santander.
Messi, the insatiable World Player of the Year, scored in each half at the Nou Camp to take his goal tally to 10 in the league this season as Barca cruised past toothless Racing to make it 17 points from seven games.
Real Madrid are a point back in second place after Messi's Argentina team mate Higuain recorded his second consecutive La Liga treble.
Valencia were held 1-1 away at Real Mallorca.