Denilson’s shot, after exchanging passes with Nicklas Bendtner on the edge of the area, gave the Gunners a fifth-minute lead. With seconds of the opening period remaining, Vermaelen was sent off for pulling down Guillermo Franco but Alessandro Diamanti’s ensuing penalty was brilliantly saved by Manuel Almunia. Cesc Fabregas then sealed the win for Arsenal six minutes from time when he scored from the penalty spot. The win was Arsenal’s sixth successive win.
Eidur Gudjohnsen’s first league goal since November 2008 gave Spurs a 2-1 victory at ten-man Stoke Cit. Niko Kranjcar scored the winner for Tottenham after a Matthew Etherington penalty had brought Stoke back to level terms.
Five points behind Tottenham in seventh, Aston Villa required an 82nd-minute strike from John Carew, his second of the match, to draw 2-2 with Wolves. The draw all but ends Villa’s hopes of gaining that fourth Champions League place.
Elsewhere, Everton continued their fine form by beating Bolton 2-0, while two goals from Darren Bent helped Sunderland upset Birmingham City 3-1.
In the two big games at the bottom of the table, a extra-time goal from Hugo Rodallega gave Wigan three huge points over Burnley, while Hull, and their news boss Iain Dowie, lost 3-2 at Portsmouth.