Arsenal produced a superb first-half display of attacking football to sweep bottom-of-the-table Southampton aside.

A Jos Hooiveld own goal opened the scoring before Lukas Podolski arrowed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Gervinho then drilled in, and Nathaniel Clyne buried a second own goal before Danny Fox pulled one back.

Gervinho grabbed his second after the break and substitute Theo Walcott then added a late sixth to leave Southampton still looking for their first point.

Analysis

"This game was all over at half-time. Southampton put up more of a fight after the break but it is all relative - they have been thrashed today."

With games against both Manchester clubs and a trip to Emirates Stadium in their first four games, life back in the top flight was always going to get off to a tough start for Nigel Adkins' side.

The Saints scared Manchester United before the international break, but were simply blown away in an opening 40 minutes here as Arsenal ran riot.

Many of the headlines emanating from the Emirates this summer concentrated on the loss of skipper Robin van Persie and Alex Song, but in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, manager Arsene Wenger has signed two players of genuine quality.

Wenger hails team performance

Those two in particular were behind a glittering first-half display, with Southampton simply unable to cope at times with the movement and passing in the final third.

Podolski began the game operating from the left but was continually on the move, swapping positions with Cazorla and Gervinho in a fluid front three.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs was also a major attacking threat as the visitors' defence was stretched to breaking point.

Podolski and Cazorla had already gone close before Podolski retrieved a lost cause in midfield and played in the impressive Gibbs overlapping on the left.

The defender's low cross-shot squirmed through the legs of Kelvin Davis and rebounded into the net off the shins of Hooiveld.

Podolski's goalscoring record in the Bundesliga was not always overly impressive, but his haul of 44 international goals suggested he would be a potent threat in the Premier League and he doubled the lead with a brilliant free-kick from 25 yards, giving Davis no chance.

Hooiveld went off with a calf injury before the half-hour mark as Adkins attempted to plug the holes in his defence, only for replacement Maya Yoshida to be culpable for the third goal.

Mikel Arteta lifted a pass over the Japanese defender, who was caught horribly out of position as Gervinho sprinted clear to thump a shot past Davis at his near post.

Deja vu for the Saints

Southampton suffered their biggest Premier League defeat in nine years, since they also lost by the same score to the same team - 6-1 at Arsenal in May 2003.

Cazorla, Podolski and Gibbs then carved open the Saints with another neat passing triangle down the left and when Gibbs flashed a cross towards goal, Clyne could only turn the ball past Davis and into the net.

Fox looked as surprised as everyone else when he pulled one back for the visitors on the stroke of half-time - the first goal conceded by Arsenal in the league this season. Wojciech Szczesny was at fault as he collided with Carl Jenkinson to leave Fox with a tap-in.

The home side were not at the same level after the break as Southampton's record signing Gaston Ramirez began to show a few glimpses of his ability.

But it was an Arsenal replacement who gave the game some impetus again, Aaron Ramsey showing great skill to flick the ball past Clyne and see a low shot hit the post, Gervinho tucking away the rebound with ease.

Adkins upbeat despite hammering

And the rout was concluded late on when Thomas Vermaelen saw his powerful shot pushed away by Davis, but Saints old boy Walcott steered home the rebound left-footed.

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins:

"Arsenal were very good. At times they were exhilarating as they have been many times here, it was a lesson for our players.

"If you give quality players time they will hurt you and that's what happened. We turned it over far too cheaply.

"We knew these first four games would be tough, we haven't got any points but we will get ready for next week and now we have to start getting points on the board. This is a ruthless division."

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (6)

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 28 Gibbs
  • 08 Arteta
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 19 Cazorla
  • 22 Coquelin (Ramsey - 67' )
  • 09 Podolski (Giroud - 74' )
  • 27 Gervinho (Walcott - 74' )

Substitutes

  • 24 Mannone
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 11 Santos
  • 14 Walcott
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 12 Giroud

Southampton

  • 01 K Davis
  • 02 Clyne
  • 05 Hooiveld (Yoshida - 28' )
  • 06 Fonte
  • 13 Fox
  • 04 Schneiderlin
  • 08 S Davis (Ramirez - 45' )
  • 16 Ward-Prowse
  • 20 Lallana
  • 42 Puncheon
  • 07 Lambert (Rodriguez - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Gazzaniga
  • 03 Yoshida
  • 22 Richardson
  • 10 Ramirez
  • 27 Chaplow
  • 09 Rodriguez
  • 24 Mayuka
Ref: Friend
Att: 60,097

Match Stats

Shots

20 9

On target

12 4

Corners

8 3

Fouls

4 7

Live Text Commentary

92:51 Full time

Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.

90:00 +2:29

Corner taken short by Santi Cazorla.

90:00 +2:02

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Jose Fonte gets a block in.

90:00 +1:21

Short corner taken by Santi Cazorla.

90:00 +1:00

Morgan Schneiderlin has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.

90:00 +0:34

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Gaston Ramirez, Olivier Giroud makes a clearance.

90:00 +0:13

Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

87:50

Assist on the goal came from Santi Cazorla.

87:50 Goal scored

Goal! - Theo Walcott - Arsenal 6 - 1 Southamp'n Theo Walcott finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 6-1 Southampton.

87:46

Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Comfortable save by Kelvin Davis.

85:07

Gaston Ramirez has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.

83:42

Morgan Schneiderlin challenges Aaron Ramsey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.

80:56

Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Lallana. Maya Yoshida restarts play with the free kick.

80:29

Shot from just outside the area by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain misses to the right of the target.

77:51

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line, clearance by James Ward-Prowse.

77:18

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Jay Rodriguez. Mikel Arteta takes the indirect free kick.

73:56 Substitution

Substitution Jay Rodriguez on for Rickie Lambert.

73:56

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.

73:56 Substitution

Substitution Yao Gervinho leaves the field to be replaced by Theo Walcott.

73:56 Substitution

Substitution Olivier Giroud is brought on as a substitute for Lukas Podolski.

73:23

Shot from 18 yards by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Kelvin Davis makes a save.

70:34

Assist on the goal came from Aaron Ramsey.

70:34 Goal scored

Goal! - Yao Gervinho - Arsenal 5 - 1 Southamp'n Yao Gervinho scores a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 5-1 Southampton.

70:32

Aaron Ramsey has an effort at goal from deep inside the box striking the post.

67:37

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jason Puncheon on Aaron Ramsey. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Santi Cazorla from left wing, Morgan Schneiderlin manages to make a clearance.

66:32 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Ramsey replaces Francis Coquelin.

66:12

Effort on goal by Jason Puncheon from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.

58:48

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.

56:01

Close range effort by Rickie Lambert goes wide of the left-hand post.

49:30

Gaston Ramirez takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

46:14

Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +2:57 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Gaston Ramirez on for Steven Davis.

45:00

Jason Puncheon provided the assist for the goal.

45:00 Goal scored

Goal! - Daniel Fox - Arsenal 4 - 1 Southamp'n Daniel Fox gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 4-1 Southampton.

44:54

James Ward-Prowse takes a shot. Blocked by Thomas Vermaelen.

42:57

Per Mertesacker produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.

42:33

Short corner taken by Yao Gervinho from the right by-line.

40:50

Santi Cazorla fouled by Steven Davis, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Santi Cazorla, Daniel Fox makes a clearance.

39:01

Shot from just outside the area by Jason Puncheon misses to the right of the target.

37:40

Kieran Gibbs sends in a cross, blocked by Nathaniel Clyne.

36:54

The assist for the goal came from Kieran Gibbs.

36:54 Goal scored

Goal! - Nathaniel Clyne - Arsenal 4 - 0 Southamp'n Own goal by Nathaniel Clyne. Arsenal 4-0 Southampton.

35:58

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Adam Lallana, clearance made by Wojciech Szczesny.

34:26

Assist by Mikel Arteta.

34:26 Goal scored

Goal! - Yao Gervinho - Arsenal 3 - 0 Southamp'n Yao Gervinho fires in a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 3-0 Southampton.

32:37

Unfair challenge on Daniel Fox by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain results in a free kick. Daniel Fox takes the indirect free kick.

30:33

Assist by Francis Coquelin.

30:33 Goal scored

Goal! - Lukas Podolski - Arsenal 2 - 0 Southamp'n Lukas Podolski scores a goal direct from the free kick from outside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Southampton.

29:30

Steven Davis gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francis Coquelin.

29:00

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line to the near post, Daniel Fox makes a clearance.

27:27

Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

27:27 Substitution

Substitution Jos Hooiveld leaves the field to be replaced by Maya Yoshida.

27:27

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Carl Jenkinson by Rickie Lambert.

24:20

Shot from outside the penalty box by Yao Gervinho goes wide right of the goal.

23:25

Header from close in by Yao Gervinho misses to the right of the goal.

19:01

Corner from the left by-line taken by Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker takes a shot. Save made by Kelvin Davis.

17:47

Steven Davis concedes a free kick for a foul on Francis Coquelin. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

16:31

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jason Puncheon by Mikel Arteta. Indirect free kick taken by James Ward-Prowse.

13:48

Corner taken left-footed by Daniel Fox from the right by-line to the near post, Francis Coquelin makes a clearance.

12:50

Francis Coquelin takes a shot. Blocked by Jose Fonte.

10:15

The assist for the goal came from Kieran Gibbs.

10:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Jos Hooiveld - Arsenal 1 - 0 Southamp'n Jos Hooiveld scores an own goal. Arsenal 1-0 Southampton.

10:12

Kieran Gibbs takes a shot. Save made by Kelvin Davis.

8:48

Mikel Arteta takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Davis.

4:12

Shot on goal by Santi Cazorla from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

2:14

Lukas Podolski takes a shot. Kelvin Davis makes a comfortable save.

0:39

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Ward-Prowse by Mikel Arteta. Direct free kick taken by James Ward-Prowse.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

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