Van Persie at the double
Robin van Persie underlined his commitment to Arsenal with two goals as the Gunners laboured to a 2-1 victory at home to Sunderland. Van Persie scored a late winner after former Arsenal player Sebastian Larsson's free-kick cancelled out the Dutchman's early goal.
In the official matchday programme the Gunners skipper, who has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, had promised to show his commitment on the pitch, and he was true to his word as he got his side off to a flying start at Emirates Stadium.
Gervinho collected Tomas Rosicky's lobbed pass, slipping the ball square to Van Persie, who drilled low past Simon Mignolet after just 29 seconds for the fastest goal of the season. With Sunderland on the back foot, Arsenal dominated the early stages but failed to make their supremacy count as Van Persie hit the post with a magnificent chip before the Dutchman's powerful 20-yard strike fizzed wide.
Arsenal were made to pay for failing to convert their chances when former Gunner Larsson equalised against his former club, curling in a delightful free-kick shortly after the half-hour mark, whipping the ball over the wall and past an outstretched Wojciech Szczesny. The Arsenal keeper was then called upon to ensure the Gunners went into the break on level terms after pulling off a point blank save from Lee Cattermole's header.
Andrei Arshavin, who replaced Gervinho after 68 minutes, made an instant impact as Arsenal continued to search for a winner, dancing around three Sunderland defenders before drilling his shot wide.
But it was Van Persie who secured maximum points for Arsenal, swinging in a magnificent free-kick from the left after being brought down by Wes Brown on the edge of the penalty area. Ji Dong-won had the ball in the net at the other end just moments later but he was ruled offside as Arsenal hung on for their third league win of the season. Newcastle remain inside the Premier League's top four after they twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Tottenham at St James' Park. The result keeps the Magpies three points ahead of Spurs, who move level with Liverpool and have a game in hand.
The opening 45 minutes were tightly contested between two of the league's form sides, with Newcastle still yet to lose this season. However, that record was put in danger by Steven Taylor's 40th minute foul on Emmanuel Adebayor, which allowed Rafael van der Vaart to give Tottenham the lead from the penalty spot.
Newcastle's reaction was excellent and three minutes after the break they were level through Demba Ba. The towering forward was on hand to convert at the far post after Jonas Gutierrez had done brilliantly to burst into the visitors' area.
Harry Redknapp has excellent forward options at his disposal since the arrival of Adebayor, and he risked the wrath of Van der Vaart just after the hour by introducing Jermain Defoe in his place. The change reaped instant dividends, with Defoe spinning his marker to drive a superb left-footed finish low past Tim Krul.
The last say went to Newcastle though as another substitute, Shola Ameobi, produced an equally unerring finish. Seemingly heading away from goal on his unfancied left foot, the gangly striker slammed the ball across Brad Friedel for an excellent and deserved equaliser.
Peter Odemwingie responded to being dropped by scoring the killer second goal as West Brom gained their first top-flight win over Wolves for 29 years in a pulsating 2-0 victory at The Hawthorns.
Odemwingie came off the bench after 72 minutes and four minutes later added to the opening goal from skipper Chris Brunt as Albion moved out of the bottom three. It condemned Wolves to a fifth successive defeat - their worst sequence at the top level since 1984.