Dennis finds his menace

Arsenal 4 Bergkamp 17 68, Adams 23, Wright 73 Southampton 2 Watson 24, Monkou 45 Attendance: 38,136

THIS was the day the doubters of Dennis Bergkamp's worth were routed. Arsenal's multi- million-pound Dutchman struck two spectacular goals to vanquish a Southampton side who almost raised themselves from the dead in a game of thrilling incident.

Bergkamp's debut as a goalscorer in an Arsenal jersey made it a game to remember and the quality of those goals will linger in the mind of the 38,000 spectators. Credit, though, to Southampton, who were struck by a two-goals-in-six-minutes blitz by the 23rd minute. Gordon Watson's deft header from Matt Le Tissier's free-kick a minute after Tony Adams had scored Arsenal's second stopped the game turning into a rout and, on the stroke of half-time, Ken Monkou had headed their equaliser.

In 45 minutes Arsenal had lost the same number of goals they had conceded in their first six Premiership games, and but for the excellent David Seaman, who had to be in top nick to stop Watson in the opening minute, it could have been more. These signs might have had more ominous overtones had Southampton been able to apply pressure less sporadically. Le Tissier, on his second successive visit to London, was far from being on song.

Highbury was still purring over Bergkamp's first goal in the 17th minute. His fellow Dutchman Glenn Helder, who had been profligate with a couple of early chances, finally found his range and dropped a cross on Bergkamp's right foot. The ball flew past Dave Beasant from 15 yards. Six minutes later, Adams sallied into the enemy's six-yard box to meet Steve Bould's flick-on of Paul Merson's left-wing corner to head the second.

It could have been all over then but for Watson's rejoinder almost straight from the restart and a blinding Beasant save from Helder's volley. The dice were still loaded in Arsenal's favour, however, and Ian Wright should have broken the deadlock in the 57th minute but for Beasant's inspired save and then, from the rebound, the striker's shot smacked against the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, Bergkamp did supply the decisive blow. Running at a Southampton defence retreating in confusion, he hit a 25-yard screamer that ricocheted off both goalposts before nestling in the Southampton net. Six minutes later, Wright provided the coup de grace when he had Francis Benali spinning like a top before he screwed his scoring shot into the far corner.

Relief that the Highbury investment had been proven sound should not blind Arsenal's critics to the fact that this was three points won with style and flair - graces that were never too often on display even in the recent seasons of victory and triumph. That new dawn the faithful keep hearing about might not be too far off.

The perennial lack of wit and guile in their midfield was relieved somewhat in the second half when Merson dropped deeper. He has all the attributes that the Gunners are missing in that vital area, so their manager, Bruce Rioch, may have got more from the 90 minutes than the warm glow of those outstanding goals. The manner in which the crowd moaned at the hapless Martin Keown's efforts to play the role of midfield play-maker might indicate that it is not only on the field that expectations are changing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve