Van Persie & Walcott strikes set up easy victory as Gunners add to misery for 10-man hosts
Quick-fire first-half goals derailed the 10-man hosts, before Yossi Benayoun’s strike on 69 minutes ensured they ended the night nine points adrift at the bottom
Robin van Persie opened the scoring from the penalty spot after last-man Sebastien Bassong was red carded for wrestling Theo Walcott to the ground inside the box.
Two minutes later, the England international broke through the Wolves defence to double the Gunners' lead and increase the home fans’ misery.
The crowd persisted with their vocal support - alongside loud cheers at every decision in their favour - and their players put on a spirited show for the following 80 minutes.
But Yossi Benayoun’s right-footed strike, from the edge of the area sunk hopes of a miraculous recovery.
The Gunners’ travelling line-up consisted of three changes from the team that beat Manchester City on Sunday, with Johan Djourou, Andre Santos and Aaron Ramsey coming into the side.
Wolves' top scorers Steven Fletcher and Sylvain Ebanks-Blake were dropped as Terry Connor opted for a 4-5-1 formation in the hope of keeping a first clean sheet in the top flight for seven months.
That aspiration lasted only seven minutes, as an on-rushing Walcott was bundled to the ground in the 18-yard box by Bassong, who was swiftly sent off by referee Neil Swarbrick after the feeblest of demonstrations.
Van Persie had not scored in four successive matches but that didn’t stop the Premier League top goalscorer audaciously chipping the ball straight down the middle of Wayne Hennessey’s goal.
Two minutes later and the ball was back in the bottom of the Welsh goalkeeper’s net, Walcott breaking through the Wolves ranks after a one-two with the Gunners skipper to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Yossi Benayoun almost added a third after 15 minutes, when he powered into the box before wastefully driving wide right.
The initial burst in action was followed by a much more subdued tempo at Molineux as Wolves stifled the relentless flow Arsenal attacks and had a couple of chances from corners cleared.
Tackles flew in as the half came to a close, Kevin Doyle personifying the frustration within the stadium when he was booked for a rash challenge on Mikel Arteta.
Although a man down and against the third-placed team in the league, rock bottom Wolves have recovered 14 points from losing positions this season in the league, a feat only topped by the 19 Arsene Wenger's side have amassed.
Indeed, Connor’s side pushed forward with impressive abundance, but a narrow and uncharacteristic miss from Van Persie reminded the hosts the threat their opponents posed.
Straight away at the other end, however, Matt Jarvis retaliated by dragging into the side netting after fooling right-back Bacary Sagna with a clever dummy.
With 30 minutes remaining on the clock, Wojciech Szczesny pulled off an incredible save to his right to deny solitary Wolves forward Doyle, who had headed Jarvis’ inviting cross at the back post goalwards.
But in the 69th minute Benayoun put any comeback out of reach, taking a touch after Alex Song’s pass from in front of him to curl his shot from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner.
Arsenal were mostly dominant from this point until the finish. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injected some pace into the right flank for the visiting team while the disparate-looking Doyle was withdrawn for Steven Fletcher with 12 minutes left.
The Gunners played out the remaining 10 minutes with the passing finesse they were famed for during the years Cesc Fabregas orchestrated their midfield ranks and Wolves rarely had the ball longer than 30 seconds before giving the ball away or being intercepted.