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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Slick Arsenal crush Baggies
Sylvain Wiltord chips West Brom keeper Russell Hoult
Wiltord's second will have been a blur to West Brom
Arsenal 5-2 West Brom

Arsenal made light work of brushing West Brom aside at Highbury with the champions cruising to victory to move to the top of the Premiership.

The Gunners stormed out of the blocks against a startled Baggies side who found themselves behind after just three minutes through a goal by left-back Ashley Cole.

Not to be outdone, Arsenal right-back Lauren created and scored the home side's second before Sylvain Wiltord's expert chip saw the Gunners three up midway through the first half.

  Key incidents
3 mins: Cole powers in the opener
21: Lauren scores after a one-two with Kanu
24: Wiltord chips in for number three
51: Dobie pulls one back for the Baggies
77: Wiltord adds the Gunners' fourth
87: Roberts grabs a consolation goal
90: Jeremie Aliadiere scores his first for Arsenal

West Brom strikers Scott Dobie and Jason Roberts scored in between Wiltord's fourth for Arsenal when the home side relaxed their grip on the game too far.

Jeremie Aliadiere also came off the bench to score his first goal for the Gunners late on.

West Brom will be glad to see the back of their opening three Premiership games which have brought defeats against Manchester United, Leeds and Arsenal.

Cole's goal set the tone of things to come at Highbury with the England international latching onto a long ball on the edge of the West Brom area.

He skilfully evaded a lunging tackle by Darren Moore and rifled an angled shot into the far corner for the opener.

At 3-0 we were maybe a bit too comfortable
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Dobie had a clear shot on the Arsenal goal from 16 yards after 11 minutes, but his effort was not powerful enough to beat keeper David Seaman.

Arsenal were comfortable without stretching themselves while West Brom did not have the creativity open up the home defence.

Arsenal then flexed their muscles once again and it was not long before West Brom were two down.

Lauren found Kanu on the right before racing to the visitors' near post and converting the low cross from the Nigerian.

Wenger's players were emphasising the gap in class and quality between the Premiership champions and the newcomers to the top-flight.

And the third goal must have seemed like a blur to the Baggies.

Ashley Cole scored in his 50th league game for Arsenal

Within seconds of Seaman rolling the ball out of his goal, Kanu delivered a ball into the run of the unmarked Wiltord.

The Frenchman delightfully chipped oncoming keeper Russell Hoult.

Roberts missed a chance for West Brom on the stroke of half-time before Dobie pulled one back for the visitors.

A mistake by Cole left Dobie with a clear shot on goal and, although Seaman almost saved, the ball squirmed under his body and into the Arsenal net.

West Brom made more of a fight of it after the break, albeit against an Arsenal side who had eased up to a large degree.

They could have made more in-roads into the deficit but for their lack of clinical finishing.

We're learning lessons - but it's taking too long
WBA boss Gary Megson

Martin Keown was also fourtunate to escape a red card for a foul on Dobie.

Wiltord then scored a excellent fourth goal of the season before Roberts opened his Baggies account.

But Arsenal seemed able to score at will when the motivation struck them and substitute Aliadiere's fifth for Arsenal rounded off the champions' win.

Arsenal: Seaman, Cole, Keown, Campbell, Lauren, Wiltord (Aliadiere 82), Vieira (Toure 79), Silva, Edu, Henry, Kanu (Parlour 67).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Luzhny.

Booked: Edu, Keown, Campbell.

West Brom: Hoult, Clement, Moore, Gilchrist, Sigurdsson, Balis, McInnes (Marshall 62), Johnson, Gregan, Roberts, Dobie.
Subs Not Used: Wallwork, Dichio, Taylor, Jensen.

Booked: McInnes, Clement.

Attendance: 37,920.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).

BBC Five Live's David Oates
"Arsenal displayed some wonderful passing"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"We played some great football"
West Brom boss Gary Megson
"Our poor defending was unbelievable"
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