A goal from Nicklas Bendtner four minutes into injury-time kept Arsenal’s title challenge alive as they snatched victory against 10-man Wolves.

The Gunners seemed set to drop decisive points until substitute Bendtner rose to head home Bacary Sagna’s cross.

The hosts dominated the game but were frustrated by their own inability in front of goal and Wolves’ commitment.

Even after Karl Henry’s dismissal for a lunge on Tomas Rosicky, Wolves battled hard but have nothing to show for it.

Once again Arsenal were thankful to the late contribution of Bendtner, who scored a last-minute winner at Hull last month and who came off the bench here to score a goal that keeps the Gunners three points behind leaders Chelsea, who won 2-1 at Manchester United in Saturday’s early kick-off.

However, the late goal cannot paper over some of the qualities lacking in the Gunners in the absence of captain Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin, both of whom were injured during the midweek Champions League draw with Barcelona.

They may have had the vast majority of possession but they missed the composure of Fabregas in midfield and the subtle creativity of Arshavin in attack.

To say they were often too deliberate and wasteful in front of goal is an understatement.

Theo Walcott – one of four changes made by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger from Wednesday’s team – was his usual direct self but twice fluffed clear shooting opportunities and saw a number of his deliveries wasted by team-mates.

Eduardo, another of the recalled players, missed two himself in the first half – one saved by Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann, who had a superb game, and the other miscued wide from close range.

Gunners right-back Sagna also missed a pair of good opportunities – firstly receiving a pass from Walcott but seeing his close-range shot saved by Hahnemann’s legs and then capitalising on space to cross for Emmanuel Eboue, who fluffed his attempted backheel shot.

Wolves had the luxury of naming the same side that held in-form Everton to a goalless draw at Molineux last week and they again demonstrated the organisation and commitment that had seen them go four games without defeat before this match.

However, they posed little threat to the Arsenal goal, barring an early long-range effort from Michael Mancienne which flashed wide, and a brief spell just before half-time where they forced two ultimately fruitless corners.

Arsenal continued to spurn chances after the break, with Eduardo putting a swivelling first-time shot past the post and Rosicky twice seeing solid drives comfortably collected by Hahnemann when he could have made it harder for the keeper.

Czech midfielder Rosicky was at the centre of the action again just after the hour when he was felled in the centre circle by a lunging tackle from Henry that earned the Wolves captain a straight red card.

Despite their inferior numbers, Wolves continued to frustrate the home side, who pressed hard but saw little reward in the final third barring a Rosicky shot saved by Hahnemann.

But deep into injury-time Sagna found space on the right to dig out a cross which was met by Bendtner with a powerful header that finally ended the visitors’ resistance.

Wolves, who remain five points above the relegation zone, may not have moved any closer to guaranteeing survival, but they can take plenty of positives into their remaining five games.

Source: BBC


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