Arsenal continued their impressive start to the new season with a convincing 4-1 Premier League victory over troubled Portsmouth at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners made light work of Pompey as Abou Diaby struck a brace, William Gallas continued his rich vein of form in front of goal and Aaron Ramey scored his first top-flight goal.
Having won their opening game of the season at Everton 6-1, Arsene Wenger’s side were again at their attacking best as Diaby finished off two fine flowing moves in the first half.
Pompey, though, were handed a lifeline when former Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul capitalised on hesitancy from goalkeeper Manuel Almunia to head home from close range.
But Arsenal rallied in the second period, after surviving a scare when Gallas appeared to bring down a clean-through John Utaka, as the French defender and then substitute Ramsey sealed the triumph.
Next up in the Premier League is a trip to Old Trafford. More of the same there and indications will be this could yet be a vintage season for Wenger’s young Gunners.
Portsmouth, though, have now lost all three of their matches so far – and it looks set to be a long campaign ahead for the Fratton Park club, who have yet to resolve their ownership issue.
With perhaps one eye on the return UEFA Champions League game with Celtic, Wenger had opted to rotate his team. Fit again Croatia marksman Eduardo, French midfielder Diaby, Emmanuel Eboue and Kieran Gibbs all started.
However, the formation remained a fluid 4-3-3, with Diaby and Denilson flanking captain Cesc Fabregas.
It was a bright start by the Gunners and they eventually went ahead on 18 minutes.
The ball was worked out to Eduardo on the left. His cutback to the penalty spot picked out the surging run of Diaby, who promptly smashed a shot into the top right corner, giving England goalkeeper David James no chance.
Before Pompey could recover, they were 2-0 down. This time Eboue broke free down the right onto a pass from Fabregas, before rolling the ball across the six-yard box where Diaby slotted it past James once again.
Pompey were shell-shocked and it now seemed a case of damage limitation. Arsenal maintained their ascendancy, stretching the visitors backline with every attack.
On 32 minutes, Robin van Persie turned at the edge of the penalty area and drilled in a low drive, which James did well to turn away.
The Dutchman then had the chance for another strike at goal with a free-kick some 25 yards out in a central position.
Again, he tested the keeper, as this time James produced a diving save to push the ball behind.
Out of nothing, Pompey had a goal back on 37 minutes.
Manuel Almunia hesitated on coming to collect a high cross into the six-yard box from Nadir Belhadj – and Kaboul got up to nod the ball into the net as the Gunners appealed for a foul on the keeper.
Wenger made a change at the start of the second half, with Wales youngster Ramsey coming on in place of Fabregas, who had been suffering from a slight leg problem in the build up to the match.
Utaka went down under a challenge from last-man Gallas at the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, but referee Steve Bennett waved play on.
Gibbs was then caught out by Frederic Piquionne, but fortunately for him, the on-loan Pompey striker could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
Arsenal restored their two-goal advantage on 51 minutes with another fortuitous effort from Gallas, whose netted a deflected effort off his back at Celtic Park in midweek.
Andrey Arshavin swept a deep free-kick into the penalty box from the left.
Van Persie flicked it on to the far post, where Thomas Vermaelen volleyed the ball back goalwards. It hit Gallas, first on the boot, and then on the face before dropping inside the far post.
They all count, though – and Gallas was not worried as he wheeled away to celebrate a third goal of the campaign.
Arsenal were now in cruise control again, with van Persie, Arshavin and Eduardo all showing off their expert close control.
Ramsey beat the offside trap to make it 4-1 on 69 minutes when he latched onto van Persie’s slide-rule pass and coolly beat James, who had to go off during the closing stages because of injury.
Arsenal: Manuel Almunia Emmanuel Eboue Thomas Vermaelen William Gallas Kieran Gibbs Cesc Fabregas (c) (45) Abou Diaby Denilson Andrey Arshavin (71) Robin Van Persie Eduardo (71)
Substitutes: Nicklas Bendtner (71) Bacary Sagna Aaron Ramsey (45) Alex Song Gael Clichy Vito Mannone Fran Merida (71)
Portsmouth: David James (75) Younes Kaboul Marc Wilson (70) Nadir Belhadj Sylvain Distin (c) Aaron Mokoena Hayden Mullins Niko Kranjcar John Utaka Nwankwo Kanu (67) Frederic Piquionne
Substitutes: David Nugent (67) Anthony Vanden Borre (70) Richard Hughes Asmir Begovic (75) Angelos Basinas Joel Ward Matt Ritchie
Official: Referee S Bennett Attendance 60,049