The Dutchman was rested by Arsene Wenger but with the Gunners struggling to find a way past a formidable Potters defence he came on continue his prolific run in front of goal which has seen him now score 29 goals in 34 games. The hosts also cured their European hangover that had seem them lose each of the four fixtures that had preceded a Champions league fixture. They certainly had the fresher legs after having a days extra rest than Stoke who were in Europa League action on Thursday night. Despite having only a few days to recharge their batteries Tony Pulis’ men looked good value for a point after Peter Crouch struck 10 minutes before half time to cancel out Gervinho’s opener before Van Persie’s double sealed victory. The result saw Arsenal leapfrog their opponents into seventh place as they continued their rise up the table with a sixth win in seven games.
Defeat was harsh on the visitors though as they defended superbly to repel wave after wave of attacks from the home side but they found themselves one behind on 27 minutes with Gervinho scoring his second goal in Arsenal red. Aaron Ramsey’s delightful clip over the top of the Stoke defence was expertly controlled by the Ivorian bringing the ball down on his chest retaining his composure to slot the ball past Asmir Begovic. That goal should have seen the home side take the ascendancy but the visitors fought back taking a foothold on the game and their efforts were rewarded when Crouch side footed home Jon Walters knock down. Ryan Shawcross and Matthew Upsonhelped the ball on in the box following Arsenal’s protestations a free kick awarded after Laurent Koscielny fouled the England striker who snapped up his chance without hesitation.
Both sides faded after the break with the game calling out for some inspiration and Wenger duly obliged sending Van Persie on to win the game. He did just that turning in Gervinho’s cross six minutes after coming on to send a wave of relief soaring around the Emirates. He wasn’t finished there though as he put the Stoke defence to the sword once again eight minutes from time with Gervinho again providing the cross for his captain to hammer the ball past Begovic stretching the Gunners unbeaten run to five games and making their horrendous start to the season a distant memory.