Arsenal 3 Southampton 0
Dennis Bergkamp launched a three-goal Arsenal blitz in seven second-half
minutes to see off stubborn Southampton at Highbury.
The Dutch master raced through, ignoring Saints' appeals for offside, to bury
Steve Bould's pass with an emphatic drive for his 15th goal of the season and
end more than an hour of Gunners frustration.
And it finally ignited an explosive spell of firepower in which skipper Tony
Adams and teenage French striker Nicolas Anelka added further goals to bury the
Adams notched his first of the season with a trademark header from Emmanuel
Petit's 67th minute corner and Anelka was left with a simple tap-in after a
scintillating double-Dutch link between Bergkamp and Marc Overmars, barely 90
There could have been more goals before the end with Southampton's heroic
goalkeeper Paul Jones somehow defying a blistering Bergkamp shot and then
Overmars hitting a post after reducing the Saints defence to rubble with a
splendid solo run.
But Arsenal's performance was enough to extend their unbeaten run to 10
matches and encourage hopes that they might still have a say in the Premiership
title race following Manchester United's surprise slip against Leicester.
But they will be without the inspiring Adams for two matches in a fortnight's
time after he was booked in the first-half for the fifth time in eight games -
this time for a foul on Southampton winger Duncan Spedding.
Southampton threatened to drive their hosts to distraction with a resiliant
display of defending in the absence of injured top scorer Kevin Davies and
suspended midfield dynamo Carlton Palmer.
Arsenal battered away at the barn door of the Saints defence throughout the
first-half with midfielder Stephen Hughes hitting the bar from 25 yards and
Jones plunging to make a series of saves from Bergkamp, Petit, Overmars and the
lively Ray Parlour.
And yet, it was Southampton who had the better chances before the interval.
David Hirst could only shoot into the side-netting past reserve goalkeeper Alex
Manninger, fumbled an awkward back-pass from Hughes in only the seventh minute.
Then, Norwegian striker Egil Ostenstad headed over with the Arsenal goal at his
mercy from former Gunner Kevin Richardson's cross.
When Parlour hit the outside of a post early in the second-half, Arsenal
looked to be in for an afternoon of anguish but then Bergkamp's strike made the
vital breakthrough and there was no way back for Southampton after Adams and
Anelka tripled the advantage in quick succession.
Southampton could not expect much with their negative display in which they
put every man behind the ball whenever Arsenal attacked and there was little
scope for Matthew Le Tissier to work his magic. Manager David Jones took him off
20 minutes from the end.
Arsenal: Manninger, Winterburn, Bould, Adams, Anelka (Wreh 81),
Bergkamp, Overmars, Parlour, Petit, Grimandi, Hughes (Platt 65).
Subs Not Used: Lukic, Luis Boa Morte, Garde.
Booked: Adams, Platt.
Goals: Bergkamp 62, Adams 67, Anelka 67.
Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Todd, Monkou, Lundekvam,
Le Tissier (Williams 69), Oakley, Ostenstad, Richardson,
Spedding (Hughes 69), Hirst.
Subs Not Used: Dryden, Moss, Johansen.
Booked: Hirst, Dodd, Richardson, Monkou.
Ref: P Jones (Loughborough).