Arsenal 6 Southampton 1: Gervinho helps glorious Gunners smash sorry Saints for six
16:22 GMT, 15 September 2012
Gervinho struck twice as Arsenal continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 6-1 demolition of Premier League new boys Southampton.
The visitors resembled a rabbit in the headlights for most of the first half as they failed to deal with Arsenal's pace and directness – epitomised as early as the 11th minute as Jos Hooiveld accidentally put into his own net.
Lukas Podolski bent in a 25-yard free-kick as the onslaught continued, before Gervinho rifled home and Nathaniel Clyne netted an own goal to make it 4-0 inside 37 minutes.
Rampant: Arsenal extended their unbeaten start to the season with a one-sided victory
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin (Ramsey 67), Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski (Giroud 74), Gervinho (Walcott 74). Subs not used: Mannone, Koscielny, Andre Santos, Arshavin.
Scorers: Hooiveld (og) 11, Podolski 31, Gervinho 35, 71, Clyne (og) 37, Walcott 88.
Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Clyne, Hooiveld (Yoshida 28), Fonte, Fox, Puncheon, Ward-Prowse, Schneiderlin, Steven Davis (Ramirez 45), Lallana, Lambert (Rodriguez 76). Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Richardson, Mayuka, Chaplow.
Scorer: Fox 45.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Wojciech Szczesny's clanger denied
the north Londoners a fourth successive clean sheet to start the season
as the returning Poland international flapped at a cross late in the
first half and Danny Fox lashed home.
It proved a mere consolation, though,
as Gervinho and former Southampton winger Theo Walcott netted in a more
even second period to condemn Nigel Adkins' side to a fourth league
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 Gaston 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.
Influential: Gervinho hit two and was at the heart of much of Arsenal's attacking guile
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 Kieran Gibbs, whose low effort squirmed through Davis' legs and
was inadvertently turned home by Hooiveld.
Clinical: Gervinho punishes some lacklustre Southampton defending to beat Kelvin Davis at the near post
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.
Jumping for joy: Lukas Podolski celebrates making it 2-0 with a crisply struck free-kick
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 floodgates open: Jos Hooiveld pokes into his own net
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
However, the Southampton goalkeeper –
and defence – should have done much better with Arsenal's third that
came after 35 minutes.
In a heap: Kieran Gibbs takes the plaudits after Jos Hooiveld is slumped in his own net after scoring the opener
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.
Salt in the wound: Theo Walcott completed the rout with a goal against his former club
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.
Consolation: Danny Fox rifles home Southampton's goal just before the break
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.
Chastened: Southampton trudge off after defat
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.
Moving on: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain turned out against his former club
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
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.