Two classic finishes from Robin Van Persie earned Arsenal a precious 2-1 victory over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
It took just 29 seconds for the Gunners to take the lead when Gervinho capitalised on a poor Black Cats clearance, breaking forward with urgency before squaring for the Dutch striker to fire home past a helpless Simon Mignolet.
Arsene Wenger's side dominated the early stages, and could have doubled their lead when a neat turn from the Arsenal skipper engineered another opportunity, but Van Persie's delicate chip came back off the upright.
Gervinho created a chance of his own cutting in from the left, but could not trouble Mignolet's goal, just as Steve Bruce's side began to get back into the game.
The Gunners failed to make their domination count, and when Sunderland won a free-kick on the edge of the box at the 30 minute mark, former Arsenal midfielder Sebastian Larsson made no mistake as he dispatched a beautiful set piece over the wall and into the top corner.
After the sides went in level at half-time it was Arsenal who came out the hungrier in the second half, and having established a stranglehold on the game, it was left to Van Persie to have the final say when he fired in a spectacular free-kick of his own to give the Gunners a welcome victory.
The win lifts Arsenal up to 10th in the Barclays Premier League table, ten points adrift of Manchester United in 2nd place, and 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.