Robin van Persie scored his 99th and 100th goals for Arsenal as the Gunners returned to winning ways with a deserved victory over 10-man Bolton.

A one-handed save by Wojciech Szczesny prevented Darren Pratley giving Bolton an early lead and Arsenal looked short of ideas in a goalless first half.

But Van Persie slotted home 40 seconds after the break before David Wheater saw red for a tug on Theo Walcott.

Captain Van Persie flicked in a second and Alex Song curled a third.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Robin van Persie has scored 25 goals in 31 club matches in 2011

The only note of disappointment for Arsenal was the sight of Theo Walcott limping off having felt a sharp pain in his knee.

With Yossi Benayoun, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen already sidelined, the last thing Arsene Wenger needs is more injuries.

The Gunners boss has been heavily criticised for his side's poor start to the Premier League season but this result helps lift the pressure.

It moves them from 17th to 12th on seven points, while Bolton are now bottom of the table with five straight defeats.

Arsenal depending on van Persie - Wenger

Arsenal came into the match under severe pressure and nerves were palpable early on as Pratley was brilliantly denied by Szczesny after ghosting in front of Kieran Gibbs.

They might have taken the lead when Gervinho latched on to a Mikel Arteta through ball, only for a heavy first touch to let Jussi Jaaskelainen gather.

Van Persie then curled narrowly wide from Arteta's tapped free-kick, but Bolton were otherwise solid at the back and the home fans began to grow restless.

Arsenal lacked urgency and inspiration until shortly before half-time, Wheater's block denying Van Persie from close range before Walcott drilled wide.

BOLTON WOE...

  • The Trotters have lost 10 of their 11 Premier League games since beating Arsenal 2-1 on 24 April

Wenger recently urged his players to start lifting the crowd with their performances  and his wish was fulfilled after the interval.

Referee Mark Clattenburg played the advantage after Gretar Steinsson's challenge on Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey fed Van Persie, who shot low past Jaaskelainen.

Seeking a first league win at Arsenal since 1962, Bolton's task was made considerably harder when Wheater - deputising for the unwell Gary Cahill, a summer target for Arsenal - was sent off for pulling Walcott down as he ran clear.

Coyle frustrated by lapses and red card

The hosts began pouring forward and were it not for the hands of Jaaskelainen, they would have certainly extended their advantage.

As the game opened up, Bolton squandered a fine opportunity to equalise - Chris Eagles shooting straight at Szczesny - but then back came Arsenal.

After several near misses, Van Persie finally reached three figures by turning in Walcott's cross before Jaaskelainen saved from Walcott when one-on-one.

Late on, Song collected Bacary Sagna's cut-back and whipped home a high finish - but Walcott's late injury took some of the gloss off what was only Arsenal's second win of the campaign.

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