Van Persie keeps Arsenal on top

Robin van Persie's first half header gave Arsenal all three points in a hard-fought encounter with West Ham on Saturday, ensuring the Gunners stay top of the Premier League table for at least another week.

The Dutchman swooped with a header on 13 minutes to preserve Arsene Wenger's unbeaten run this season, which now stretches to eight games.

It took Arsenal barely 60 seconds to show just why they are sitting pretty on top of the table. Almost inevitably, it was Cesc Fabregas - the smoothly running cog in Arsenal's engine room once again - who started off a flowing rapid-fire passing move from which Emmanuel Adebayor nearly opening the scoring, his shot going narrowly wide of Robert Green's upright.

But the Gunners did not have to wait for much longer before a breakthrough was made, Van Persie getting in front of Hammers skipper Lucas Neill to head home an Aleksandr Hleb cross.

In fairness, the goal was harsh on West Ham, who had until that point largely matched Arsenal and even created several chances of their own in an open start to the game.

Dean Ashton looked busy up front for the hosts, and it was his superbly executed flick to former Arsenal man Freddie Ljungberg that nearly carved open the Gunners's back line. But Manuel Almunia - still deputising for the injured Jens Lehmann - was off his line quickly to save at the Swede's feet on five minutes.

Minutes later, Ashton threatened once again, this time letting fly from distance; his shot flew over the bar, but the signs were encouraging for the east Londoners.

Van Persie's third goal of the season served to dent the Hammers' confidence somewhat, but nonetheless, they did enough during the opening 45 minutes to go in slightly aggrieved at being a goal down, even if the opening period ended with Arsenal on the front foot.

Van Persie saw a free kick turned round the corner by Green on 41 minutes before Mathieu Flamini brought the keeper into action once again with a stinging drive from outside the box before the whistle brough an end to proceedings.

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