Robin van Persie proved he's invaluable to Arsenal as the Dutch forward scored twice to lift the Gunners over Sunderland, 2-1, at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The first came within seconds of the opening kick off. Off a fast break, winger Gervinho raced up the left side of the pitch, and found van Persie who eluded defender Wes Brown, and delivered a right-footed shot that stunned Sunderland.
However, the Black Cats would respond a half-hour later. Mikel Arteta's hand ball set up a spectacular curling free kick from Sebastian Larsson from about 20 yards that Wojciech Szczesny had no chance to save. It was the former Gunner's third goal of the short season.
Van Persie would strike again with a free kick of his own. In the 83rd minute, the striker bended a left-footed ball by Simon Mignolet to give the Gunners the victory.
Arsenal had the more aggressive attack. The Gunners took 21 shots, with five on goal, and held possession for 63 percent of the match. Sunderland had eight shots, with two on goal.
Both clubs had their share of absentees, but Arsene Wenger, who has been on the hot seat this season, certainly felt fortunate to have his Holland star in the starting 11.
With van Persie the subject of transfer rumors, the two-goal effort was just one of his two great Sunday moments for Arsenal fans as the 26-year-old reaffirmed his commitment to the club prior to the match.
I am committed to Arsenal. I am the captain, said van Persie. Don't believe everything you read.
Here is a look at the Arsenal - Sunderland highlights: