A rampant first-half performance from the Gunners saw them bag four goals and leave the visitors shell-shocked, although they did manage a consolation goal after a Szczesny error
An incident-packed first half saw the Gunners take a 4-0 lead courtesy of Jos Hooiveld and Nathaniel Clyne own goals sandwiching Lucas Podolski and Gervinho strikes, before Daniel Fox struck back.
Arsenal continued to assert their domination in the second half as Gervinho's second and Theo Walcott's late effort made it six.
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|Dominated the first half with an interesting display as a false number nine that pulled the Southampton back four all over the shop. Took his first goal well and showed good instinct to finish his second.|
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was unable to call upon Abou Diaby or Theo Walcott, though the latter made the bench. Wojciech Szczesny was restored to the starting line-up, as Gervinho replaced Olivier Giroud up front and Francis Coquelin came into the centre of midfield.
Saints begun with the same side that battled to a 3-2 defeat against Manchester United, with the trio of new signings Gaston Ramirez, Emmanuel Mayuka and Maya Yoshida having to make do with a place on the bench.
Arsenal begun the brighter of the two and their early pressure was rewarded in the 10th minute after Hooiveld turned the ball into his own net as Kelvin Davis could only get a foot to Kieran Gibbs' low, drilled cross from the left byline.
Per Mertesacker tested Davis with a powerful header from Santi Cazorla's looping ball into the box as Arsenal began to assert their dominance, before Gervinho fizzed an effort just wide of the post.
Hooiveld was replaced by Maya Yoshia around the half hour mark as Saints fully capitulated, conceding three goals in a matter of minutes.
Steven Davis gave away a needless foul on the edge of the area, allowing Podolski to step up and bend a left-footed effort that was well beyond Kelvin Davis' grasp.
Almost immediately after the restart Saints left-back Daniel Fox was caught napping and a simple Mikel Arteta lofted pass down the line allowed Gervinho to steam in on goal and smash home at the near post.
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Moments before the interval Wojciech Szcznesy granted the visitors a lifeline, making a total mess of a cross from deep to allow Fox to poke in from yards out.
Rickie Lambert missed a good chance to get his side back with a fighting chance as he slotted wide, as Arsenal continued to enjoy the upper hand in the second half.
The Gunners further stretched their lead after substitute Aaron Ramsey made an instant impact, outfoxing Clyne as he burst into the box, only to see his prodded effort rebound off the post to allow Gervinho to bundle home from a couple of yards out.
Gervinho and Podolski were replaced to rapturous applause, with replacement Walcott puting the icing on the cake, bending home with his left foot as the visitors' defence made a hash of clearing Thomas Vermaelen's strike.