Theo Walcott may not yet have secured his seat on England's World Cup plane to South Africa. But he could hardly have turned in a better audition than the performance he produced in front of Fabio Capello, the England manager, at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.
Nicklas Bendtner scored the first-half goal and Cesc Fabregas the injury-time penalty which defeated a sterile Sunderland side but it was Walcott who produced the pace and the menace.
At times it had shades of Zagreb 2008, the night Walcott scored a hat-trick against Croatia which set England on the right course in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
There were no goals this time but if you want a winger to terrorise defenders, then Walcott in this mood does it better than most. The opening goal, however, came courtesy of a mazy run from Emmanuel Eboue. At the end of it he found a precision pass across the box which found Bendtner loitering in cavernous space at the far post. Bendtner may have scored easier goals but it is doubtful.
There were a few nervy moments for the Gunners as they failed to cash in on their superior possession. But in injury time Fabregas was brought down by Fraizer Campbell on the edge of the area and the Spaniard got up to score from the spot
Man of the match: Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Goals from Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Julien Faubert gave West Ham their second successive league victory and left nine-man Hull in real trouble at the foot of the table. West Ham, who climb to 13th place in the table, were given a dream start by Behrami who combined with Guillermo Franco to fire past Boaz Myhill in the second minute. Myhill pulled off a sensational save in the 27th minute when Alessandro Diamanti's cross was met by Behrami at the far post. Myhill kept West Ham at bay until the 59th minute when Cole got on the end of Faubert's pass to slide an angled drive under the goalkeeper to make it two. Hull had Craig Fagan sent off for two bookable offences and captain Anthony Gardner carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury after City had used up all three of their substitutes and had to play the last 10 minutes with nine men. Diamanti almost made it three for West Ham with an audacious shot from the half-way line. The West Ham striker saw Myhill off his line and his shot had to be palmed away for a corner by the Hull keeper. But Faubert, the French midfielder-turned-right-back, did make it 3-0 in the final minute with a rising angled drive to give West Ham back-to-back wins for the first time in the league since March 2009. Man of the match: Julien Faubert (West Ham)