Gunners hit six, Baggies boing

England international Theo Walcott plundered a hat-trick as the
Gunners brought the Seasiders back down to earth with a bump. If
life in the top flight had started in fairytale fashion for Ian
Holloway’s men with a 4-0 win at Wigan, the honeymoon was rudely
halted as they were trounced 6-0 at the Emirates Stadium. The
Gunners needed just 12 minutes for Walcott to set them on their
way, and after Ian Evatt had been dismissed four a foul on striker
Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin coolly dispatched the resulting
penalty to leave the Seasiders with a mountain to climb. Their
plight deepened six minutes before the break when Walcott helped
himself to a second, and the misery increased within four minutes
of the restart when Abou Diaby converted Bacary Sagna’s cross.
Walcott completed his hat-trick with 32 minutes of the game
remaining, and Chamakh finally opened his account with seven
minutes to go after passing up a series of earlier opportunities.
Gareth Bale claimed the first double of his senior career as
Tottenham won 2-1 at Stoke. The Wales international knew little
about his 19th-minute opener when Ryan Shawcross’s attempted
clearance cannoned in off him, but there was no questioning his
winner, a stunning volley from Aaron Lennon’s cross on the
half-hour after Ricardo Fuller had levelled. However, the game
ended in controversy with Stoke convinced a late effort had crossed
the line, although not in the opinion of referee Chris Foy.
Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner was another to strike twice as
his side came from behind to beat Blackburn 2-1. Rovers midfielder
Morten Gamst Pedersen saw his 50th-minute penalty saved by
Birmingham keeper Ben Foster, but then delivered the corner from
which Steven N’Zonzi headed Rovers in front at St Andrews four
minutes later. However, the lead was fleeting and Gardner levelled
from James McFadden’s delicately volleyed cross within three
minutes before smashing home a long-range winner 19 minutes from
time. Bolton striker Johan Elmander claimed a second-half brace as
his side won 3-1 at West Ham. West Ham had only themselves to blame
when, having seen Carlton Cole miss a first-half penalty, Matthew
Upson headed into his own net under pressure from Bolton’s Kevin
Davies three minutes into the second half. Things went from bad to
worse for the Hammers and they found themselves 2-0 down when
Elmander powered home a 68th-minute header, and the Swede doubled
his tally after Mark Noble had briefly given the home side hope by
beating keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen with a second spot-kick. Promoted
West Brom bounced back from their 6-0 mauling at Chelsea last
weekend with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland thanks to debutant Peter
Odemwingie’s first goal from the club, although they had to wait
until the 81st-minute despite dominating for long periods. Everton
had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves. Tim Cahill fired
Everton in front two minutes before the break when he smashed home
the rebound from Mikel Arteta’s blocked free-kick with the
visitors’ appealing in vain for a foul, but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
cancelled out the lead with a 74th-minute equaliser to snatch a
point.