Arsene Wenger delighted as Arsenal's attacking style kicks in

Arsenal 6 Southampton 1: Manager salutes his players' 'pace, movement and skill' to ease pressure on his Arsenal future

There was a degree of mockery in some quarters when Ivan Gazidis this week suggested he wanted to extend Arsene Wenger's stay at the club. "Seven years + zero trophies = new contract" was one headline. Yesterday showed why Arsenal's chief executive believes his manager still has the right formula for long-term success.

While it would be wise not to read too much into this demolition of a newly-promoted club who are bottom of the embryonic league without a point, both Manchester clubs trailed Southampton before finally putting them away. By contrast Arsenal's victory was never in doubt. A brace of own goals, by Jos Hooiveld and Nathaniel Clyne, did not help the Saints cause but both were the result of waves of Arsenal pressure.

In addition Gervinho, flourishing in a rare outing at centre-forward, scored twice, and Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott once. The only irritating note for Arsenal was an error by Wojciech Szczesny which allowed Daniel Fox to score the first goal Arsenal have conceded this season. Nevertheless, they head into an important week – with matches against Montpellier in the Champions' League on Tuesday, and at Manchester City on Sunday – in fine fettle.

"In the first 45 minutes we were at a high level, with pace, movement and skill," said Wenger. "We continued what we showed at Liverpool [in winning 2-0 in their last game a fortnight ago]." Wenger added: "In the second half we lost a bit of urgency, which is human, but we controlled the game."

"We played a very good team who were ruthless today," said Nigel Adkins. The Southampton manager added: "The scoreline is not ideal but we'll analyse it then quickly move on. We have belief we can play in this division."

Arsenal were again without the fragile Abou Diaby, rested ahead of Montpellier after being injured on international duty, but Francis Coquelin proved an able deputy. With Walcott recuperating from the virus that kept him out of action for England, and Olivier Giroud taken out of the firing line for his own good ("he was feeling the pressure," said Wenger), Gervinho found himself leading the line flanked by Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It was Podolski who started the rout. Having dawdled in possession and being surrounded by a trio of opponents he recovered to evade them all before releasing Kieran Gibbs on the left. Gibbs' cross-shot squirmed under the body of Kelvin Davis and Hooiveld, running back, was unable to prevent the ball bouncing off his knee and over the line.

Hooiveld then limped off with a calf injury to be replaced by Maya Yoshida, a Japanese defender signed for £2m from Venlo in the Netherlands. Yoshida only returned from international duty on Thursday and had yet to play for Southampton. It proved a baptism of fire as Arsenal scored three goals within 10 minutes of his arrival to kill the game. The first came from a 31st-minute free-kick awarded when Steven Davis clattered late into Coquelin. Podolski, more than 25 yards out, whipped a free-kick over the wall and past the poorly positioned Kelvin Davis.

Then Yoshida stepped out at the wrong time allowing Mikel Arteta to lift the ball over his head for Gervinho to run on to. The Ivorian thumped his shot inside Kelvin Davis' near post. Two minutes later Gervinho was marginally more alert than Jason Puncheon in midfield and pinched possession. He fed Gibbs, whose cross was deflected in off Clyne.

To general surprise Southampton reduced the arrears before the break when Szczesny dropped Puncheon's cross and Fox blasted in. "He will be disappointed," said Wenger of the keeper who had been restored to the side after injury, during which Vito Mannone kept two clean sheets.

The error denied Arsenal a fourth successive blank in defence, a feat they had never previously achieved at the start of a season , not even during the George Graham era when "1-0 to the Arsenal" was the chant.

The second period was quieter. Rickie Lambert may have made it more interesting but failed to reach a mis-hit shot that Gibbs allowed to drift across goal. Gervinho, stabbing the ball in after Aaron Ramsey hit the post, and Walcott, following up after Vermaelen had been denied by Davis, completed the scoring.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Coquelin (Ramsey, 67), Arteta, Cazorla; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho (Walcott, 75), Podolski (Giroud, 75).

Southampton (4-5-1): K Davis; Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld (Yoshida, 28), Fox; Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, S Davis (Ramirez h/t), Lallana; Lambert (Rodriguez, 76).

Referee: Kevin Friend

Man of the match: Gervinho (Arsenal)

Match rating: 7/10

Half-time: 4-1 Att: 60,097

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?