Title talk from Arsene Wenger as Arsenal thrash Saints 6-1
Premier League review: Podolski and Gervinho lead Gunners’ charge; Chelsea stay top with QPR draw
HAVING found the net only twice in the opening three fixtures of their league campaign, Arsenal were at their trigger-happy best on Saturday, beating Southampton 6-1 at the Emirates.
Strikes from Lukas Podolski and Gervinho, sandwiched between a brace of own goals from the hapless visitors, sent the Gunners into the half-time break 4-1 to the good.
Gervinho grabbed a second on 71 minutes before substitute Theo Walcott made it six with two minutes left. The bottom-placed Saints, who had already endured a tough opening to their top-flight return with defeats at the hands of both Manchester sides, had only a consolation effort from Danny Fox to take from their biggest Premier League defeat for six years.
Arsenal's thumping triumph left manager Arsene Wenger in borderline bombastic mood. "We have a chance for the title but first we must show consistency," he said. "We have the quality to do it but we have to show how much we want it."
While the Gunners scored four times in the first-half, Manchester United netted the same number in the second-half of their clash with Wigan. Paul Scholes, making his 700th appearance for United, opened the scoring six minutes after the break with a tap-in. His strike set-up the 4-0 victory which lifts Sir Alex Ferguson's men to second place.
Chelsea maintained their position at the top despite managing only a point in their west London derby with QPR. During a tense encounter, preceded by Anton Ferdinand's much-predicted refusal to shake the hands of John Terry and Ashley Cole, the referee turned down two compelling penalty claims from the visitors. Then Terry defied his villainous billing with a goal-line clearance after Bobby Zamora had exploited a cataclysmic backpass from John Mikel Obi.
Commenting on Ferdinand's refusal of handshakes from Terry and Cole, Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo said: "As far as we are concerned, our players offered it and if the other player doesn't want to receive it, then we move on."
A testing week for Liverpool ended with a 1-1 draw at Sunderland. The controversial Luis Suarez grabbed a point for the visitors with a side-footed strike in the 77th minute, following Steven Fletcher's first-half opener for the hosts. Liverpool, now in 17th place, are still without a win this season.
Stoke City's hope of inflicting a surprise defeat on visiting Manchester City were dashed when Javi Garcia equalised Peter Crouch's 15th-minute opener at the Britannia. Crouch's goal had been controversial, as he clearly handled the ball before driving it home. New Stoke signing Michael Owen made the briefest of debuts, replacing his former England colleague Crouch in the dying moments.
In other results, both Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion surrendered their unbeaten records, losing to Aston Villa and Fulham respectively. Dimitar Berbatov made a memorable home debut for the Cottagers, scoring twice against 10-man West Brom, who had Peter Odemwingie dismissed in the first-half.
Matthew Lowton's first goal for Villa was the inspiration for their 2-0 victory over Swansea. The defender's swerving shot opened the scoring in the 16th minute. The lead was made safe in the 88th minute when Belgian debutant Christian Benteke chipped the ball home after punishing a slip from Ashley Williams.
Norwich City are still without a win after their clash with West Ham United finished goalless. The scoreline does scant justice to an open and engrossing tie. The visitors missed the presence of loan signing Andy Carroll, who was ruled out with hamstring strain.