Gunners hit Saints for six
Arsenal run riot to leave Southampton pointless
Last Updated: September 17, 2012 5:53pm
Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 6-1 demolition of new boys Southampton at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners treated their home fans to an exhibition in flowing football to keep the Saints waiting for their first top-flight points.
The tone was set in the 11th minute when Jos Hooiveld bundled the ball into his own net after Kieran Gibbs had seen his shot saved by Kelvin Davis.
A curling 25-yard free-kick from Lukas Podolski, his first goal at the Emirates, doubled Arsenal's advantage and a long-awaited Gervinho strike put the hosts three to the good.
Man of the match - Kieran Gibbs. A number of contenders, all in red shirts, but Gibbs was a constant threat down the left and played a hand in two of Arsenal's goals. Has seamlessly slotted in at left-back this season. Moment of the match - Lukas Podolski lit up the Emirates Stadium with his first goal at his new home. His curling left-footed free-kick sailed into the top corner to put the Gunners 2-0 ahead. Save of the match - It was a busy afternoon for Saints keeper Kelvin Davis and he at least denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a goal against his former club with an athletic diving save late in the game. Talking point - Are the Gunners title contenders? Some of their football today was breathtaking and they remain unbeaten from their first four games.
The impressive Gibbs was involved in Arsenal's fourth goal with just 37 minutes on the clock as his cross cannoned off the unfortunate Nathaniel Clyne and past Davis, but the Saints did at least ensure they were the team to find the Gunners' goal for the first time this season when Danny Fox lashed home after an error from the returning Wojciech Sczcesny.
Southampton introduced record signing Gaston Ramirez at half-time, however a second goal from Gervinho and first of the season from former Saints player Theo Walcott put the icing on the cake in the second period.
Arsenal made three changes coming into the game, with Szczesny the standout returnee after missing recent matches with a rib injury.
Saints, meanwhile, stuck with the same starting team that fell to a harsh 3-2 defeat to Manchester United before the international break, while new signings Ramirez and Maya Yoshida were named on the bench.
The latter was brought in to shore up a weak Southampton defence that found itself under pressure from the outset in north London.
Podolski tested Kelvin Davis with a stinging effort inside three minutes, before former Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's dangerous cross was inexplicably scooped over the bar by Santi Cazorla.
The early pressure continued as Southampton regularly gave away possession as they failed in their attempts to get a foothold on proceedings.
Arsenal capitalised on the visitors' early ineptitude as Podolski took possession in the middle and played through Gibbs, whose low effort squirmed through Davis' legs and was inadvertently turned home by Hooiveld.
The hosts' dominance continued after the 11th-minute opener and came close to doubling their advantage soon after.
Davis flapped at a Cazorla corner and had to be on his toes to prevent Per Mertesacker heading home when the ball was played back into the box.
Gervinho was the next to threaten, nodding wide and then bursting forward to send a driven effort just wide of the right-hand post.
The early exchanges made bleak viewing for the travelling fans and Adkins was forced into his first change after 28 minutes, bringing on Yoshida for his debut in place of Hooiveld, who had been struggling with a calf injury this week.
The Japan defender could do nothing, though, to prevent Podolski scoring three minutes later.
After Coquelin was upended, the Germany international exquisitely curled a 25-yard free-kick over the wall into the top corner past the helpless Davis.
However, the Southampton goalkeeper - and defence - should have done much better with Arsenal's third that came after 35 minutes.
Gervinho connected with an excellent Mikel Arteta dink over the top and the Ivorian lashed home, finding time and space to beat Davis at his near post.
It was proving a nightmare first half for Saints as they failed to cope with Arsenal and it got worse eight minutes before half-time with a second own goal.
Another break ended with the being ball played out left to Gibbs, who again saw his cross directed home by a player in yellow - this time Clyne the unfortunate party.
It was not just Southampton making errors, though, as the returning Szczesny spilt a high cross from the right under pressure from Rickie Lambert, allowing Fox to lash home on the stroke of half-time.
It was one of a handful of chances for the visitors in the second half, leading Adkins to bring on record signing Ramirez for his debut in a bid to create more going forward.
Saints looked far more confident and composed following the introduction of the Uruguay international, who tested Szczesny five minutes after coming on.
Ramirez soon turned provider as he played through Lambert, but he could only direct wide under pressure.
Oxlade-Chamberlain bundled wide a Gervinho cross as Arsenal looked to extend their advantage - which they managed to do in the 71st minute.
Cazorla, impressing once again in midfield, played through substitute Aaron Ramsey, whose exquisite turn was followed up by a shot that came back off the post for Gervinho to tap home.Davis was forced into a fine save to prevent former team-mate Oxlade-Chamberlain netting, before substitute Walcott capped a fine day for Arsenal by netting late on after the Saints goalkeeper parried.
|4||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||3|
|8||Shots off Target||5|
|54.1||1st Half Poss.||45.9|
|45||2nd Half Poss.||55|