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.