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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 17:11 UK

Arsenal   4 - 1   Portsmouth

By David Ornstein

Robin van Persie and Abou Diaby
Diaby produced one of his best performances for Arsenal

Arsenal continued their impressive start to the season with a resounding victory over struggling Portsmouth.

Abou Diaby opened the scoring with a first-time finish from Eduardo's cut-back and doubled the lead when he tapped in Emmanuel Eboue's cross.

Younes Kaboul headed in to give Portsmouth hope but Arsenal responded when the ball rebounded off William Gallas's face and into the net.

Aaron Ramsey slotted home a Robin van Persie pass to seal the hosts' win.

The result sends Arsenal top of the league on goal difference and maintains their 100% start to the season in all competitions.

But with their Champions League qualifying play-off second leg against Celtic on Wednesday and a trip to Manchester United on Saturday, manager Arsene Wenger will be sweating on the fitness of captain Cesc Fabregas, who went off at half-time with a hamstring injury.

Portsmouth drop to the foot of the table and, despite engineering a number of clear-cut chances, look to be in desperate need of reinforcements.

606: DEBATE
Davgroos

With three defeats from as many games, the south coast club have now made their worst start to a Premier League season and they can only hope that the ongoing saga surrounding their ownership is resolved soon.

They have not won away from home since beating Sunderland on 8 November 2008 and the departures of Glen Johnson, Sean Davis and Peter Crouch have left them looking listless in defence, midfield and attack.

To compound their woes, goalkeeper David James was forced off with an injury to his left knee, a sight which would not have pleased on-looking England coach Fabio Capello ahead of his side's World Cup qualifier against Croatia on 9 September.

On a brighter note, loan signing Frederic Piquionne looked dangerous throughout and the 30-year-old French forward could prove a key addition to a squad that might well be heading for a relegation battle.

Wenger made four alterations to his starting line-up - Eboue, Kieran Gibbs, Diaby and Eduardo replacing Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Alexandre Song and Nicklas Bendtner - but the change of personnel did little to disrupt a rhythm that had brought Arsenal impressive wins against Everton and Celtic.

Wenger enjoys Arsenal victory

A neat passing move between Denilson and Fabregas sent Diaby bearing down on goal but the Frenchman seemed to get caught in two minds and was eventually thwarted by Nadir Belhadj.

Visiting full-backs Belhadj and Marc Wilson were enduring a torrid afternoon and when Eduardo skipped past Wilson on the left, the Croatian was able to square for Diaby to crash a side-footed finish into James's top left-hand corner.

Arsenal were purring and four minutes later they doubled their lead - Fabregas playing Eboue in behind Belhadj and the Ivorian crossing for Diaby to roll the ball past James from close range.

The hosts squandered numerous chances to extend their advantage and their profligacy allowed Portsmouth to grow in confidence.

Their first clear-cut opening of the first half saw Kanu sashay in off the right wing and tee up John Utaka, only for Eboue to arrive with a last-ditch block.

Score did not reflect game - Hart

Paul Hart's men were working hard to force a way back into the match and they were rewarded when Kaboul towered above a static Almunia to nod in Belhadj's centre from the left.

Pompey continued to press forward at the beginning of the second half and picked holes in the Arsenal defence on a number of occasions, but their hopes of completing a comeback were soon dashed.

An Andrey Arshavin free-kick from the left was headed on by Van Persie and knocked across goal by Thomas Vermaelen, before it hit Gallas in the face and went in via a post.

Portsmouth almost responded through Piquionne, the France international surging through on goal but delaying his shot long enough for Gibbs to get back, while Utaka fired wide from a glorious position late on.

But by that point 18-year-old Ramsey had put the game to bed with his first league goal for Arsenal, an assured finish having collected Van Persie's slide-rule pass.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"We have had a brilliant start. It should create confidence and momentum.

"We now go into another week which will be another test against Celtic and then Manchester United. It looks to be exciting and interesting.

"We want to make this place very special, and there is still some more work to do. However, you also have to accept the team have to get the people off their seats, not the other way around.

"Last year maybe we did not give enough belief to our fans, and maybe the belief of our fans had been affected by the negative publicity we got."

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart:
"We can dwell on bad things, bemoan our luck, or you can dust yourself down and get on with it.

"There is no point moping around and feeling sorry. You can get on with it or walk away. I work for a good football club, with good people, but one which is just having a bad time.

"There has been no problem from the application in the players. While we have this kind of spirit, we can make progress."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth FT
(HT 2-1)
  • Diaby 18
  • Diaby 21
  • Gallas 51
  • Ramsey 68
  • Kaboul 37

Arsenal

Substitutes

Portsmouth

Substitutes

Ref: BennettAtt: 60,049
ARSENAL
PORTSMOUTH

Possession

  • Arsenal 56%
  • Portsmouth 44%

Attempts on target

  • Arsenal 16
  • Portsmouth 4

Attempts off target

  • Arsenal 3
  • Portsmouth 5

Corners

  • Arsenal 8
  • Portsmouth 4

Fouls

  • Arsenal 9
  • Portsmouth 10
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:18 The referee blows for the end of the match.
  • 90:00+3:04 Nadir Belhadj concedes a free kick for a foul on Nicklas Bendtner. Emmanuel Eboue restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+1:24 Booking Vassiriki Diaby is booked.
  • 90:00+0:48 Vassiriki Diaby challenges Niko Kranjcar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Niko Kranjcar takes the direct free kick.
  • 90:00+0:04 Short corner taken by David Nugent.
  • 88:41 The assistant referee flags for offside against Frederic Piquionne. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
  • 86:59 Frederic Piquionne takes a shot. William Gallas gets a block in.
  • 86:05 The official flags Robin van Persie offside. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
  • 85:18 Shot by John Utaka from a long way out goes over the target.
  • Correction - 81:08 Effort on goal by John Utaka from inside the box misses to the right of the target.
  • 81:08 Effort on goal by John Utaka from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.
  • 80:37 Robin van Persie takes a shot. Blocked by Sylvain Distin.
  • 79:51 Unfair challenge on Nicklas Bendtner by John Utaka results in a free kick. Aaron Ramsey takes the direct free kick.
  • 78:48 Vassiriki Diaby gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Anthony Vanden Borre. Anthony Vanden Borre takes the free kick.
  • 77:32 Frederic Piquionne takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.
  • 74:28 Substitution David James leaves the field to be replaced by Asmir Begovic.
  • 73:24 Niko Kranjcar fouled by Fran Merida, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Younes Kaboul.
  • 71:50 Robin van Persie is ruled offside. Younes Kaboul takes the indirect free kick.
  • Correction - 70:14 Substitution Andrey Arshavin goes off and Fran Merida comes on.
  • Correction - 70:14 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Nicklas Bendtner coming on for Da Silva Eduardo.
  • 70:14 Substitution Andrey Arshavin leaves the field to be replaced by Fran Merida.
  • 70:14 Substitution Da Silva Eduardo goes off and Nicklas Bendtner comes on.
  • 70:01 Shot by John Utaka from outside the box goes high over the crossbar.
  • 68:56 Substitution Anthony Vanden Borre comes on in place of Marc Wilson.
  • 67:56 Assist by Robin van Persie.
  • 67:56 GOAL - Aaron RamseyArsenal 4 - 1 Portsmouth A goal is scored by Aaron Ramsey from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth.
  • 67:13 Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Save made by David James.
  • 67:05 Substitution David Nugent replaces Nwankwo Kanu.
  • 66:38 Neves Denilson fouled by Niko Kranjcar, the ref awards a free kick. Robin van Persie shoots direct from the free kick, Aaron Mokoena gets a block in.
  • 59:16 Corner taken by Andrey Arshavin from the left by-line to the near post, Nwankwo Kanu manages to make a clearance.
  • 59:05 Da Silva Eduardo sends in a cross, clearance made by Hayden Mullins.
  • 55:19 Aaron Ramsey takes a shot from long range which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 54:04 Da Silva Eduardo takes a shot. Save made by David James.
  • 53:20 Effort on goal by Robin van Persie from inside the box misses to the right of the target.
  • 52:14 John Utaka takes a shot. Thomas Vermaelen gets a block in.
  • 52:10 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Nadir Belhadj from the left by-line to the near post, Neves Denilson makes a clearance.
  • 51:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by William Gallas on Niko Kranjcar. Niko Kranjcar takes the free kick.
  • 50:11 Assist by Thomas Vermaelen.
  • 50:11 GOAL - William GallasArsenal 3 - 1 Portsmouth William Gallas grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Arsenal 3-1 Portsmouth.
  • 49:42 Unfair challenge on Da Silva Eduardo by Marc Wilson results in a free kick. A cross is delivered by Andrey Arshavin,
  • 48:00 Shot from inside the six-yard box by Frederic Piquionne goes wide right of the target.
  • 46:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by Nwankwo Kanu. Kieran Gibbs takes the free kick.
  • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
  • 45:01 Substitution Aaron Ramsey comes on in place of Francesc Fabregas.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:06 The ref blows to signal half-time.
  • 45:00+0:41 The assistant referee signals for offside against Andrey Arshavin. Free kick taken by David James.
  • 45:00+0:16 The official flags Frederic Piquionne offside. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
  • 43:57 Robin van Persie is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by David James.
  • 43:09 Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by David James.
  • 39:44 Corner taken by Robin van Persie.
  • 38:50 Francesc Fabregas produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
  • 37:58 Free kick awarded for a foul by Younes Kaboul on Vassiriki Diaby. Robin van Persie has an effort direct from the free kick, blocked by Hayden Mullins.
  • 37:41 Neves Denilson fouled by Nwankwo Kanu, the ref awards a free kick. Kieran Gibbs takes the direct free kick.
  • 36:36 Assist on the goal came from Nadir Belhadj.
  • 36:36 GOAL - Younes KaboulArsenal 2 - 1 Portsmouth Younes Kaboul scores a headed goal from close range. Arsenal 2-1 Portsmouth.
  • 36:06 Outswinging corner taken by Niko Kranjcar.
  • 35:35 Corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, David James makes a save.
  • 35:10 Corner taken short by Andrey Arshavin.
  • 34:13 Niko Kranjcar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas. Robin van Persie has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, David James makes a save.
  • 32:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Utaka by Emmanuel Eboue. Free kick taken by Nadir Belhadj.
  • 31:14 Robin van Persie takes a shot. David James makes a save.
  • 29:21 John Utaka takes a shot. Blocked by Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 28:41 Vassiriki Diaby takes a shot. Save made by David James.
  • 24:04 Corner taken short by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 23:29 Da Silva Eduardo produces a cross, save by David James.
  • 20:58 Assist by Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 20:58 GOAL - Vassiriki DiabyArsenal 2 - 0 Portsmouth Vassiriki Diaby grabs a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Portsmouth.
  • 20:24 Da Silva Eduardo concedes a free kick for a foul on Marc Wilson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Niko Kranjcar from right wing, Vassiriki Diaby manages to make a clearance.
  • 19:24 Unfair challenge on Hayden Mullins by William Gallas results in a free kick. David James restarts play with the free kick.
  • 18:44 Nwankwo Kanu challenges Neves Denilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Thomas Vermaelen takes the direct free kick.
  • 17:25 The assist for the goal came from Da Silva Eduardo.
  • 17:25 GOAL - Vassiriki DiabyArsenal 1 - 0 Portsmouth Vassiriki Diaby grabs a goal from inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth.
  • 16:00 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Nwankwo Kanu.
  • 15:46 Kieran Gibbs produces a drilled left-footed shot from 25 yards. Blocked by Younes Kaboul.
  • 14:01 Da Silva Eduardo takes a shot. David James makes a save.
  • 12:38 Corner taken by Niko Kranjcar played to the near post, Robin van Persie makes a clearance.
  • Correction - 11:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Neves Denilson on John Utaka. Niko Kranjcar delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.
  • 11:46 John Utaka fouled by Neves Denilson, the ref awards a free kick. Niko Kranjcar crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 9:42 The referee blows for offside. David James takes the free kick.
  • 4:49 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. David James makes a save.
  • 4:15 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie, save made by David James.
  • 3:06 Robin van Persie takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Marc Wilson.
  • 2:45 Hayden Mullins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson. Free kick taken by Neves Denilson.
  • 1:28 Thomas Vermaelen concedes a free kick for a foul on Nwankwo Kanu. Nadir Belhadj restarts play with the free kick.
  • 0:00 The match begins.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

22 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth R
Birmingham 0-0 Stoke R
Hull 1-0 Bolton R
Man City 1-0 Wolverhampton R
Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn R
Wigan 0-5 Man Utd R

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 22 Aug 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 2 8 6
2 Tottenham 2 5 6
3 Man Utd 3 5 6
4 Chelsea 2 3 6
5 Man City 2 3 6
6 Sunderland 3 0 6
7 Birmingham 3 0 4
8 Stoke 3 -2 4
9 Liverpool 2 3 3
10 West Ham 1 2 3
11 Fulham 1 1 3
12 Burnley 2 -1 3
13 Wolverhampton 3 -2 3
14 Hull 3 -4 3
15 Wigan 3 -4 3
16 Aston Villa 1 -2 0
17 Bolton 2 -2 0
18 Blackburn 2 -3 0
19 Everton 1 -5 0
20 Portsmouth 3 -5 0

see also
Saturday football as it happened
22 Aug 09 |  Football
Saturday football photos
22 Aug 09 |  Premier League


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