The goal came in 70 minute after Everton had tightened up their defence by replacing striker Saha with a centre-back, Distin, looking like they were going for a goalless draw, while Arsenal were preparing to throw in more attacking force in Rosicky and Arshavin in order to break a deadlock. The subs had to wait.
RVP was the hero once again. He had a relatively poor game by his own standards and by his own admision. His touch deserted him. However, a moment of brilliance made up for it.
Three points were absolutely vital to keep up with the top four and saw Arsenal climb to the 4th spot for the first time this season as a result. It may only be until Monday night (I am hoping Chelsea will beat Man City or draw at least), but we are now very close to where we wanted to be.
Our Man of the Match is Alex Song because we rate overall performance more than a moment of brilliance.
Although Everton had only one shot on target, he was active with some good clearances. However, he could have made his defenders' lives easier by coming forward to claim the ball on some occasions.
A lot better than Tuesday night.Mertesacker: 7
Won all the aerial battles.
Some great tackles, including fending off Cahill in a very dangerous area. He did a good job in an unfamiliar position (I have read somewhere that he occasionally plays the left-back for Belgium national team, though).
Personally, I think he had a good game. He made some great moves into the box to get in good positions, as well as providing incisive passes (which is what we expect from him most) and linking up with other attacking players. His turn and shot in the box were a sequence of beautiful and technically superb moves. Had it hit the target, it would have been a strong contender for the Goal of the Month against RVP's sublime volley.
Did well amid the media focus as this game was a first meeting with his old club. Even an early yellow card did not stop him from working hard. He had good link-up play as well.
His passing is improving. His clipped pass to RVP was exquisite and deserves every credit.
He had one of his better games. He can beat defenders not only with pace, but strength and trickery as well. His crosses are getting better. He even had a powerful shot from the right-hand side, which forced a good save out of Tim Howard. He is developing into a great winger.
Lively, but his finishing and split-second decisions in front of the goal let him down.
Van Persie: 8
Superb goal which will be rememberd for a long time on Arsenal's 125th anniversary. However, otherwise, his performance on the day was below his standards.
83rd-minute substitution. He was supposed to come on earlier, but RVP's goal changed the plan. He was bright. Although he has made only short appreances recently, his performance has been consistent and has made an impact. Good sub.
Substituted Vermaelen at the 83rd minute. Didn't put a foot wrong.
Came on for Walcott to shore up the defence in 89 minute. Did his job to see off Everton.
Howard Webb: 6
Decisions were OK, but was he Everton's 12th player? He got Arsenal players' way on several occasions on the edge of Arsenal box.