Arsenal 5 Wimbledon 0

  • By: Bill Pierce, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: May 22 2012, 10:01 BST

Dazzling Arsenal surged into overdrive for the last lap of the Premiership

title race with a five-goal blitz of bogey side Wimbledon at Highbury to go back

to the top of the table for the first time since October.

Tony Adams, Mark Overmars and Dennis Bergkamp, with his 21st of the campaign,

all scored glorious goals in the first 20 minutes.

And marauding French midfielder Emmanuel Petit added his first goal for the

club nine minutes into the second half as Wimbledon, unbeaten in nine previous

visits, were torn apart.

Arsenal finished with five goals as substitute Christopher Wreh put Lee

Dixon's through pass over the head of goalkeeper Neil Sullivan and nodded it

cheekily into an empty net.

But Arsenal's star was teenage striker Nicolas Anelka, who had a sophisticated

foot in three goals and was given a standing ovation as he left the field 12

minutes from time to be replaced by Wreh.

The nap hand of goals equalised Arsenal's best win of the season but they

could have had a hatful. Remarkably, Wimbledon might have had several

themselves.

Andy Clarke, making his first Premiership start of the season, hit the inside of

a post in the second half after chipping over goalkeeper David Seaman.

Michael Hughes and Neal Ardley had earlier both failed to finish easy chances

from close quarters.

But by then the Gunners were firing almost at will from the end of a series of

silky moves which flowed through the majestic Bergkamp, Petit and Patrick

Vieira.

There had already been a string of near misses before skipper Adams rose

beyond the far post to thump home a header from Petit's corner in the 12th

minute for only his second goal of the season.

And after that breakthrough the walls fell in on Wimbledon as Arsenal added

two more in the 17th and 20th minutes.

Petit's tackle set up Anelka for a purposeful run down the left and he clipped

the ball inside for Overmars, who had earlier missed badly from close range, to

drill just inside the far post.

Anelka had the fans gasping as he set up the next one. Teenager Matthew Upson,

replacing suspended Steve Bould with class and style in the centre of the

Arsenal defence, headed out Hughes' free-kick and Anelka took it on his chest

before turning away from a challenge and roaring 70 yards to the edge of the

Wimbledon box where he set up the supporting run of Bergkamp for a clinical

finish.

The rampage continued in the second half as Wimbledon chased shadows trying to

cut off Arsenal's scintillating collection of one-touch passes.

But the fourth goal came in amazing fashion as Seaman raced out of his area to

clear down the right with a mammoth kick which Bergkamp chased and then clipped

into the box where both Overmars and Anelka could have scored but touched the

ball on instead for Petit's maiden strike from eight yards.

Petit almost added another with a thundering 30-yarder that came off the

overworked Sullivan's chest and was walked into an empty net by Overmars, who

was given offside.

But the relentless bombardment continued even though Arsenal finished with 10

men when Petit, who has been picked for the French team in their World Cup

warm-up next week, hobbled off with a shin injury.

There was just time, though, for Anelka's substitute Wreh to add a cheeky

finishing flourish.

Lee Dixon's through ball found the little Liberian in a race for possession

with Sullivan and he neatly lobbed it over the goalkeeper's head before nodding

into an empty net.

The mighty roar which greeted the completion of the nap hand was only matched

seconds later by the news of Manchester United dropping points at home to

Newcastle.

Teams:

Arsenal: Seaman, Winterburn, Vieira (Platt 70), Adams,

Anelka (Wreh 76), Bergkamp, Overmars, Parlour, Petit,

Garde (Dixon 14), Upson.

Subs Not Used: Boa Morte, Lukic.

Goals: Adams 12, Overmars 17, Bergkamp 19, Petit 54, Wreh 88.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Blackwell (McAllister 83),

Thatcher, C. Hughes (Cort 45), Roberts, Gayle, Perry, M. Hughes,

Ardley (Francis 75), Clarke.

Subs Not Used: Kimble, Heald.

Booked: M. Hughes.

Att: 38,024

Ref: P Jones (Loughborough).