Gervinho's brace helped Arsenal to a comfortable Barclays Premier League victory against Southampton.
The visitors struggled with Arsenal's pace and directness beginning in the 11th minute as Jos Hooiveld put into his own net. Lukas Podolski bent in a 25-yard free-kick, before Gervinho rifled home and Nathaniel Clyne netted another own goal to make it 4-0 inside 37 minutes. Arsenal were denied a fourth successive clean sheet when Wociech Sczcesny dropped a cross late in the first half and Danny Fox lashed home. But Gervinho scored a second and Theo Walcott netted to condemn Nigel Adkins' side to a fourth league defeat.
Podolski tested Kelvin Davis with a stinging effort inside three minutes, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's dangerous cross was scooped over by Santi Cazorla. The early home pressure continued and led to the opening goal 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.
The hosts came close to doubling their advantage soon after. Davis had to be on his toes to prevent Per Mertesacker heading home a cross. Gervinho was the next to threaten, nodding wide and then bursting forward to send a driven effort just wide of the right-hand post.
Adkins was forced into his first change after 28 minutes, bringing on Maya Yoshida for his debut in place of Hooiveld, who had been struggling with a calf injury. The Japan defender could do nothing, though, to prevent Podolski scoring three minutes later. The Germany forward curled a 25-yard free-kick over the wall into the top corner past Davis.
Arsenal's third came after 35 minutes as Gervinho connected with an excellent Mikel Arteta dink over the top and beat Davis at his near post. Eight minutes later it was four as another break ended with the being ball played out left to Gibbs, who again saw his cross directed home by a Southampton player, this time Clyne.
Southampton managed to score at the right end after Szczesny spilt a high cross from Rickie Lambert, allowing Fox to lash home on the stroke of half-time.
The visiting side looked far more confident and composed following the half-time introduction of record-signing Gaston Ramirez, who tested Szczesny five minutes after coming on. Ramirez soon turned provider as he played through Lambert, but the forward could only direct wide under pressure.
Arsenal extended their advantage in the 71st minute after Cazorla played in substitute Aaron Ramsey, whose turn was followed up by a shot that came back off a post for Gervinho to tap home. Davis was forced into a save to prevent former team-mate Oxlade-Chamberlain netting, before substitute Walcott netted late on against his former side
|23 Sep 2012||v Man City (A)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Chelsea (H)|
|06 Oct 2012||v West Ham (A)|
|20 Oct 2012||v Norwich (A)|
|27 Oct 2012||v QPR (H)|
|03 Nov 2012||v Man Utd (A)|