Southampton 1 Arsenal 3

  • By: Martin Lipton, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: May 22 2012, 10:01 BST

Dennis Bergkamp upstaged Ian Wright's bid for Gunners glory with a

magnificent double as the Highbury side showed their title credentials.

All the attention had been on the England striker's quest for the two goals

that will take him above Cliff Bastin's 178 and make him the club's greatest

ever scorer.

Wright, however, was forced to experience a frustrating afternoon, his only

statistical contribution to the day being a booking for failing to retreat at a

Francis Benali free-kick.

But with Wright having an off-day, up popped Bergkamp to produce the moments

of majesty that earned all three points.

Despite dominating the early stages, the Gunners had been hauled back level

when Neil Maddison cancelled out Marc Overmars' first goal in English football.

Yet that gave Bergkamp the platform to show his genius with two goals

out of the highest drawer.

The first came 12 minutes into the second half.

The 'Ice Man' had it all to do

when he picked up the ball in the centre circle, with eight striped shirts

between him and the goal.

But nothing could divert Bergkamp from his chosen course as he surged on

towards the box, the home defence retreating in front of him as he arrowed to

his chosen destination.

And, having got there, the finish, hard, right-footed and just inside the

post, could not have been more emphatic, even the impressive Paul Jones having

no chance.

It was enough for victory, even if Wright was destined to wait until

at least Wednesday's trip to Leicester.

But Bergkamp then went one better 12 minutes from the end, robbing Lee Todd,

ignoring the fact that his shirt was being almost tugged off his back, and then

slipping past the full-back before crashing home.

It was a scoreline that summed up Arsenal's domination.

After only seven minutes Wright, fed by Overmars' vision, brought the ball

down instantly only for his 20-yarder to sail high and wide.

Overmars and then Bergkamp almost claimed the breakthough and Saints, with

David Jones giving a debut to youngster Duncan Spedding and a first start to

Kevin Davies, looked out of their depth.

So it was no surprise when Wenger's side went ahead in the 19th minute.

Overmars did not appear to have too many places to go as he received the ball

wide on the left, but the flying Dutchman jinked into the box before slipping under Paul Jones and into the net.

That was his first goal since a £7million move from Ajax, and the second

should have come just three minutes later, but he spooned over the top after

Jones had foiled Wright following a brilliant Bergkamp flick.

It was all so easy, and it made Southampton's 25th-minute equaliser even more

of a shock.

Steve Bould, back in for Scott Marshall, blocked Matthew Oakley's first

attempt to cross from the right, but could only send the second spinning up in

the air.

But the Arsenal defence stood waiting for somebody to take charge, and, when

they all declined, Maddison's bravery in going for the ball was rewarded with a

downward header that trickled in.

The goal gave the home side the belief they had lacked earlier, even if DavidSeaman was not troubled.

But Bould and Gilles Grimandi were now being tested.

Unfortunately for Saints though, with Egil Ostenstad lasting just seconds after the break before giving

best to his ankle problem, Arsenal took control again.

Oakley hacked Patrick Vieira's header off the line with Jones beaten, and the

keeper then plunged to his right to keep out Bergkamp's shot.

It was only delaying the inevitable, however, and while Bergkamp's goal was

worthy of appreciation, perhaps the Southampton defence should have tried to do

more about it than they did.

Seaman nearly gifted Saints a second leveller straight away, fumbling a Daviescross towards the net before regathering before it crossed the line.

And then substitute

David Hughes missed a real sitter.

And that was their last real chance.

Wright and Bergkamp fell foul of referee

David Elleray, but nothing was going to prevent this being Bergkamp's day, as he

claimed the clincher.

After that Arsenal tried everything to set Wright up for the goal he wants so

much. It did not come, but nobody was too bothered.

Teams:

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Todd, Magilton, Monkou, Benali,

Oakley (Hughes 63), Maddison, Davies, Ostenstad (Johansen 46),

Spedding (Evans 73).

Subs Not Used: Neilson, Taylor.

Booked: Monkou.

Goals: Maddison 25.

Arsenal: Seaman, Winterburn, Bould, Vieira,

Grimandi (Marshall 75), Garde, Parlour, Petit (Platt 65), Wright,

Bergkamp, Overmars (Boa Morte 87).

Subs Not Used: Anelka, Lukic.

Booked: Bould, Wright, Bergkamp.

Goals: Bergkamp 57, 79, Overmars 20.

Att: 15,246

Ref: D R Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).