English Premiership

Arsenal hit Saints for six

2012-09-15 19:23
Arsene Wenger (File)

London - Arsenal taught Southampton a harsh lesson about the realities of life in the English Premier League by hammering them 6-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Ivory Coast international Gervinho led the rout with two goals while Lukas Podolski's effort, a late Theo Walcott strike and two own goals continued an unbeaten start to the season for Arsene Wenger's side.

Southampton had to make do with a consolation from Daniel Fox after a terrible blunder from Wojceich Szczesny but manager Nigel Adkins will know he has plenty to do to lift his players after they were comprehensively outclassed.

Defeat left the newly promoted Saints rooted to the bottom of the table and the only team in the league without a point after four straight defeats.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, ahead of his return to face former club Montpellier in the Champions League next week, had to make do with a place on the bench as Wenger opted to start with Gervinho as his lone striker.

Southampton had Rickie Lambert leading the line on his own, supported by new England call-up Adam Lallana.

Arsenal were quick out of the blocks and Podolski had the first sight of goal by firing an effort straight at Kelvin Davis in the third minute but his superb run in the 11th minute gave the hosts a deserved lead.

Podolski rode two strong challenges before playing in Kieran Gibbs and his shot was fumbled by Davis into the path of defender Jos Hooiveld, who could only watch as the ball hit his leg and trickled over the line.

They didn't have to wait long to extend their lead as Podolski curled home a superb free kick from 30 yards out that left Davis grasping thin air.

Four minutes later, Mikel Arteta's lofted through ball found the totally unmarked Gervinho totally, who had plenty of time to pick his spot and make it 3-0.

Southampton looked totally shell-shocked but they were unlucky to find themselves even further behind in the 37th minute when a hopeful cross from Podolski struck Nathaniel Clyne and deflected past the helpless Davis.

It was the cruellest of blows but, to their credit, the visitors picked themselves up and were gifted a goal just before half-time.

Jason Puncheon's hopeful cross should have been dealt with easily by Szczesny but the Polish keeper inexplicably dropped the ball under no pressure, with Fox the grateful recipient.

That goal seemed to give Adkins's side a much-needed lift after the break and the introduction of Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez in place of Steven Davis saw them start the second half well.

Lambert screwed a shot just wide 10 minutes in, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also went close at the other end.

And it was no surprise that Arsenal got a fifth goal, with Gervinho eventually tapping home in the 72nd minute after a shot from Gunners substitute Aaron Ramsey came back off the post.

Despite their supremacy, the Londoners continued to press for more goals and went close several times to grabbing a sixth.

They eventually managed it on the stroke of full-time as a great run from captain Thomas Vermaelen drew a good save from Davis before substitute Walcott, like Oxlade-Chamberlain playing against his old club, swept the ball home with his left foot.

Read more on:    arsenal  |  southampton  |  english premiership  |  soccer

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