Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Van Persie gives Gunners birthday win

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LONDON: Robin van Persie’s stunning volley at the Emirates Stadium allowed Arsenal to celebrate their 125th birthday with a 1-0 Premier League victory over Everton on Saturday.

The Gunners skipper settled the match with his 33rd league goal of 2011, one behind Thierry Henry’s club record for a calendar year.

His goal ensured Arsene Wenger’s team extended their unbeaten run to eight league matches.

Former players and managers were invited onto the pitch before the game to celebrate the club’s landmark anniversary and salute the home supporters.

The “legends” introduced by Arsenal included former France internationals Henry and Robert Pires.

Wenger needed to reshuffle his defence after left-back Andre Santos suffered an ankle injury in the midweek Champions League loss to Olympiakos.

It meant Thomas Vermaelen was playing as a full-back, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the middle of defence and Johan Djourou on the right.

van Persie’s moment came in the second half when Song played the ball over the top and his first-time volley smashed in off the post as Arsenal went fourth in the table.

Meanwhile in other matches, Manchester United delivered an emphatic response to its humiliating exit from the Champions League, rediscovering its scoring touch to thrash Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 and keep the pressure on Premier League leader Manchester City.

Portugal winger Nani and England striker Wayne Rooney—with his first goals since mid-September—both scored twice in a romp at Old Trafford to leave United two points behind City, which visits fellow title rival Chelsea on Monday.

“Sometimes strikers go in bursts and hopefully that is Wayne on a spurt of goals now to take us up to New Year,” Ferguson said. “I always say December is an important month; if we get to the New Year still in the frame, we have a great chance.” Nani gave the hosts the lead in the 17th, and Rooney made it 2-0 with a low drive 10 minutes later.

Liverpool edged past Queens Park Rangers 1-0 thanks to Luis Suarez’s first goal in more than two months to move into sixth above Newcastle, whose freefall continued by losing 4-2 to Norwich for a third defeat in four matches.

Wigan climbed off the bottom by beating West Bromwich Albion 2-1 to be replaced by Bolton, which slumped to a fourth straight defeat by losing 2-1 at home to struggling Aston Villa.

Swansea kept up its impressive home record by beating Fulham 2-0, with Clint Dempsey deflecting a shot by Scott Sinclair into his own net before missing a penalty at the other end. (Agencies)

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