London: Arsenal strengthened their grip on third place in the Premier League as they pushed 10-man Wolves a step closer towards relegation with a 3-0 victory at Molineux.
Robin van Persie notched his 27th league goal of the season with a ninth-minute penalty after Sebastien Bassong had been red carded for a professional foul on Theo Walcott, who added a second just two minutes later before Yossi Benayoun rounded off the win in the second half.
It was a ninth win from their last 10 in the league for Arsene Wenger's side, who strengthened their hopes of qualifying outright for next season's UEFA Champions League.
With just five games of the season remaining, they now enjoy a five-point cushion between themselves and fourth-placed Tottenham, who are beginning to look locked in a three-way battle with Newcastle and Chelsea for the final spot in Europe's elite competition.
Meanwhile, bottom side Wolves' prospects of remaining in the English top flight with the Gunners diminished yet further still after they succumbed to a seventh successive defeat.
It left manager Terry Connor still searching for his first victory, having claimed just a solitary point from his eight matches in charge.
Given their recent record, confidence was bound to be fragile among the Wolves players, yet not even they could have anticipated making such a disastrous start.
Just eight minutes had passed when Bassong clumsily bundled over Walcott as he bore down on goal following a wonderful one-two with Van Persie.
Deeming the on-loan Tottenham player as the last man, referee Neil Swarbrick viewed the offence worthy of a red card and Van Persie compounded Wolves' misery from the penalty spot with an audacious dink over Wayne Hennessey.
Connor responded immediately by withdrawing midfielder David Davis for another defender, Christophe Berra, yet the move was met with boos by the Wolves crowd.
Their frustration swiftly intensified as by the 11th minute the Gunners had doubled their lead after Walcott took advantage of another one-two, once again with Van Persie, before steering his shot inside the near post from close range.
Arsenal seemed content to sit on their lead and play possession football and the remainder of the half descended into a scrappy affair.
Wolves threatened briefly midway through the first half when a Christophe Berra header deflected narrowly past the post, however Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was not extended in the opening 45 minutes.
Swarbrick's half-time whistle was greeted by jeers from the home supporters still incensed by his decision to dismiss Bassong, however replays indicated the referee made the correct decision.
Wenger's side started the second half strongly and Van Persie was presented with a fine opportunity to notch his second from Mikel Arteta's cutback only to fire wide.
Despite the lack of action in his goalmouth, Szczesny proved his worth with a stunning reflex save to keep out what looked a certain goal from Kevin Doyle's 60th-minute diving header at the back post.
Any prospect of an unlikely comeback from Connor's team was ended nine minutes later, though, when Alex Song, situated on the left side of the Wolves box, picked out Benayoun on the edge of the area and he stroked a precise shot inside the left post to add the gloss to a straightforward and convincing victory for the visitors.