Arsenal turn on the style to rout sorry Portsmouth

Updated: 31 December 2009 08:38 IST

Arsenal ended the decade in style as they eased to a 4-1 victory at bottom club Portsmouth to keep the pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United.

Arsenal turn on the style to rout sorry Portsmouth

Portsmouth:

Arsenal ended the decade in style as the Gunners eased to a 4-1 victory at bottom club Portsmouth on Wednesday to keep the pressure on Premier League pace-setters Chelsea and Manchester United.

Eduardo, Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song all scored to give Arsene Wenger's side their fifth league victory in six games and leave them just four points behind table-topping Chelsea, with a game in hand, going into 2010.

Portsmouth were afforded precious little joy on a day when it was revealed HM Revenue and Customs have delivered a winding-up petition against the debt-ridden club in regards to unpaid tax and VAT.

Nadir Belhadj, one Portsmouth player likely to be sold to help reduce outstanding payments, did claim a consolation but the hosts finish the year four points adrift in 20th place.

After a couple of early scares, third placed Arsenal's rhythm began to build. Andrey Arshavin rolled the ball into the path of Bacary Sagna on 17 minutes but Eduardo could not connect with the French right-back's well-flighted delivery.

Another quick-fire passing movement put Eduardo away on the flanks but while his pull-back found Abou Diaby, Asmir Begovic pulled off a strong two-handed save at his near post.

As Arsenal settled Portsmouth became increasingly less comfortable, with Aaron Mokoena's crude lunge on Ramsey displaying a lack of composure and presenting Eduardo with a free-kick from 25 yards.

Crucially the Croat's low free-kick was deflected off Younes Kaboul and flashed into the left-hand corner past a motionless Begovic.

Avram Grant's side would have felt hard done by and rallied through Belhadj, whose pace opened up a chance on 33 minutes but the Algerian's low drive from 20 yards skidded past Manuel Almunia's far post.

It was only a temporary revival as Arsenal increased their advantage in the 42nd minute.

Eduardo passed across the penalty area to Ramsey who in turn fed Nasri first-time and the French international drove home his first Premier League goal of the season.

After the break a left-footed cross by former Republic of Ireland international defender Steve Finnan evaded everyone, landing to Belhadj on the far side but the Algerian's shot flew well wide.

The first signs of fan discontent toward Portsmouth's financial predicament then arrived as the home crowd cried "where has all our money gone?" and "sack the board".

Bar Hassan Yebda's arrowed drive straight down the throat of Almunia it was comfortable for Arsenal who looked capable of a third at any moment.

It was Ramsey who sealed the points, the young Welshman nipping the ball off Portsmouth substitute Anthony Vanden Borre, shifting onto his left foot and launching a stunning strike past Begovic in the 69th minute.

Portsmouth reduced the deficit 16 minutes from full-time when Belhadj exchanged passes with Vanden Borre before side-footing past Almunia, but Arsenal still had time for a fourth in the 81st minute.

Nasri was afforded too much space to clip a cross to Song at the far post and the Cameroon midfielder. preparing to leave for the African Nations Cup this week, jumped unmarked to head his first goal of the season.

Topics : Football Arsenal
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