Robin van Persie has been exceeded expectations this season. Reuters

Arsenal may not have Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, but they still have a superstar.

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.

The Black Cats responded a half-hour later when a spectacular curling free kick from Sebastian Larsson from about 20 yards stunned Wojciech Szczesny.

But the day would belong to Van Persie, who 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.

Arsene Wenger, who has been on the hot seat this season, and is once again overwhelmed with injuries, can take solace that he has one of the best goal-scorers in the world.

With van Persie the subject of transfer rumors, the two-goal effort in front of a roaring home crowd was just one of his two great Sunday moments for Gunner 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.

As much as Arsenal fans have suffered in recent years, and after a tumultuous summer transfer period, there is a great deal of relief that van Persie is healthy, thriving, and committed to a club that sometimes feels like a sinking ship.

In eight Premier League matches this season, van Persie has five goals. He has also two goals to his credit in three Champions League appearances.

While it often seems that many of the current group of Arsenal players bear little resemblance to former players of the glory days, van Persie's similar style to Dennis Bergkamp offers hope to a club that is yearns for a resurgence. Should the club continue to build around van Persie, perhaps Arsenal can challenge for a title.

Van Persie's loyalty might be what makes his so endearing to Gunner fans. It had to be frustrating for van Persie to see his midfield teammates depart for Barcelona and Premier League rival Manchester City, but through it all, he has not voiced displeasure at Arsenal management.

At the moment, van Persie appears to be the glue holding the club together.