Wenger applauds 'special' RVP
Van Persie opened the scoring after 29 seconds with an 18-yard drive on Sunday before hitting a late winner for the Gunners with a wonderful curling free-kick after Sebastian Larsson had equalised for the Black Cats. It is the second time in three weeks that van Persie has scored a brace to help the north London side clinch victory in what has so far been a poor start to their campaign. The last time he bagged two, in the 3-0 win over Bolton last month, he caused concern among Arsenal fans by insisting that he was in no hurry to extend his current contract, which expires in 2013. That prompted fears that the club would be forced to sell the 28-year-old in the same way that they had to let Samir Nasri go to Manchester City after the midfielder refused to sign a contract extension this summer. Van Persie moved to allay fears about his future in his programme notes before the game, insisting that he is totally committed to the Arsenal cause, and Wenger is also not worried about the former Feyenoord man's relaxed attitude towards penning a new deal. "The ideal situation is that he extends his contract and if he doesn't you have to respect that. What is important is he plays how he plays," Wenger said. "We are all eager to see special football players and he is a special football player. "For me commitment is [giving your best] as long as you are at the club, not how long you are at the club. "If you give absolutely 100% until the last day of your contract, that is what I call commitment. "For me it is not commitment to have a long contract. "He knows that we are ready to talk about it (a new contract), but the most important thing is what you do on the pitch and how much you are committed to the cause as long as you are at the club." With Nasri and Cesc Fabregas now out of the door, and Jack Wilshere sidelined until the new year through injury, van Persie is arguably the only player capable of turning a match for the Gunners. The Holland international would have had a hat-trick on Sunday had his delightful first-half chip not bounced out to safety off a post. Wenger was in no doubt that his team would have struggled without van Persie's telling contribution. "Robin was exceptional. When you analyse the game you see just how important he is," the Gunners boss said. "The first chance was created by the play of the team and, with the second chance, he made the difference with his skill." Sunderland had a few opportunities to take a 2-1 lead after Larsson had scored a spectacular free-kick to equalise. The best of those opportunities fell to Lee Cattermole, who headed Stephane Sessegnon's cross straight at Wojciech Szczesny from close range just before the break. Black Cats boss Steve Bruce, who is under pressure with his side sitting just outside the relegation zone, felt the midfielder's miss was key to the outcome of the match. "It was an awful start but Larsson got us back in the game with a wonder goal," Bruce said. "The big turning point for me was Lee's miss just before half-time. "It's a great save, but I would be disappointed if I had missed from that range." Wenger, meanwhile, could be without Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs for Wednesday's Champions League match against Marseille. Ramsey was left out of Sunday's game with a hamstring problem and Gibbs came off five minutes in to the second half with a stomach injury. The Arsenal boss, who is already without key defenders Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen, says Ramsey and Gibbs have only a "small chance" of playing in France.