Arsenal 6 Southampton 1

Last updated : 07 May 2003 By Footymad Previewer

Arsenal ruled supreme in this FA Cup final rehearsal with a 6-1 victory over Southampton.

Robert Pires claimed his first hat-trick for the club, while Jermaine Pennant, making his first Premiership, start also netted three times.

It was Pires who opened the scoring on 10 minutes after Kanu clipped a delightful ball through for Ray Parlour to accelerate on to on the right side of the area and the Gunners midfielder unleashed a powerful shot that was saved by Paul Jones.

But the Saints keeper could only redirect the ball into the path of Pires who turned the ball home into the roof of the net from an acute angle on the left side of the goal.

Pennant doubled the lead on 18 minutes after some wonderful approach play involving Thierry Henry and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, with the latter feeding Pennant, who came in from the right side of the area to drill a shot into the bottom left corner of Jones' goal.

Three minutes later Pennant claimed his second and Arsenal's third when he was on hand to head home the rebound from Henry's shot.

Arsenal went 4-0 up on 23 minutes through Pires, who latched on to a pass from Henry and hit the ball first time into the left corner of the net.

Arsenals fifth followed just three minutes later when Pennant claimed his hat-trick when Henry once again was the provider and the youngster showed great maturity to thread a powerful shot through a crowd of defenders and beyond Jones.

A lapse in concentration in the home defence allowed Jo Tessem to reduce the arrears on 35 minutes when Wayne Bridge was allowed to cross from the left and although Igors Stepanovs looked favourite to clear he somehow misjudged the flight of the ball and allowed the Norwegian to score from close range.

Arsenals sixth and final goal came just two minutes after half time in spectacular circumstances.

A pass forward from Parlour rolled under the feet of Paul Telfer into the path of Pires.

He spotted Jones marginally off his line and launched a dipping shot which flew over the head of the Saints keeper into the net.

Having seemingly scored enough goals the Gunners decided to play exhibition football, playing with the visitors.

Southampton will hope they will perform better in Cardiff and they certainly raised their game after the introduction of James Beattie and at time tested the makeshift Gunners defence.