Arsenal 3 Portsmouth 1
Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky were on target as Arsenal crushed Portsmouth at the Emirates.
Adebayor converted the spot kick to send Arsenal into a lead they never relinquished as Arsene Wenger’s side cantered to their third Barclays Premier League win of the season.
Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky completed the rout with second-half strikes and the only cloud over an scintillating display was the 50th minute dismissal of Philippe Senderos.
Senderos was shown a straight red card for blocking Kanu and 12 minutes later the former Arsenal striker pulled one back for Portsmouth with a lucky backheel.
Former Gunners vice-chairman David Dein may have warned the club they need a “huge injection of money” if they are to not to get left behind, but Pompey will beg to differ.
Dein could soon be fronting a takeover funded by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov but Wenger’s claims he does not need outside investment to make Arsenal competitive were given credibility this afternoon.
Apart from Kanu’s strike, Portsmouth scarcely troubled the Gunners’ defence and it would have been 4-1 had substitute Abou Diaby not missed a late sitter.
Instead Arsenal dominated throughout, inflicting a harrowing afternoon upon Lauren who was making his first appearance against his former club.
Glen Johnson started for the visitors after completing a £4million transfer deadline day move from Chelsea and the England defender was involved as Arsenal attacked from the opening whistle.
Fabregas attempted to send van Persie into space with a threaded pass but Sean Davis read the danger and bundled the Dutch striker off the ball.
But van Persie was alive to a more promising chance in the seventh minute, pouncing on an error from John Utaka – forced by pressure from Gael Clichy – and beating James in a foot race to the ball.
Van Persie’s advance was halted when James sent him tumbling for a clear penalty and Adebayor sent the England keeper the wrong way by tapping the spot kick into the right corner.
Adebayor almost made it two shortly after when Alexander Hleb had whipped in a dangerous cross but he just failed to connect as James came out in the nick of time.
Fabregas was heavily involved as Arsenal broke from their own half in the 31st minute with Clichy probing down the left.
The French defender whipped in a cross that sailed just inches over the head of van Persie and Portsmouth escaped the danger.
But Arsenal could not be denied in the 36th minute when a corner by Rosicky caused havoc in the opposition defence.
Gilberto got the initial touch and the ball fell between Fabregas and Davis with the Spaniard reacting first, turning and shooting to leave James no chance from such close range.
A marauding run from Adebayor brought the home fans to their feet but his final delivery was poor and the move ground to a halt.
Pompey’s frustration was growing and Hermann Hreidarsson was justifiably booked for a blatant body check on Hleb as the winger attempted to escape into space.
Arsenal began the second half as they had finished the first, pouring forward and placing the Pompey goal under pressure.
Van Persie just failed to meet a cross from Adebayor and then Senderos’ acrobatic header was denied by a smart save from James.
The Swiss defender was left to rue James’ reactions as a heartbeat later he was given his marching orders for obstructing Kanu as the former Gunner raced in on goal.
Halsey brandished the red card in the belief Senderos was the last defender but replays showed Kolo Toure was covering across and could have stopped Kanu.
The powerfully-struck free-kick, taken by Utaka, curled around the wall but failed to trouble keeper Manuel Almunia.
Portsmouth were now attacking with more conviction and Gilberto had to come to the rescue as Kanu pulled the trigger.
But just as Harry Redknapp’s side appeared capable of pulling a goal back, Arsenal struck for a third time.
Fabregas took a quick free-kick to Rosicky and the Czech winger blasted his shot between James and Johnson from an acute angle.
Pompey finally made the breakthrough in the 62nd minute, although it was a little fortuitous as Kanu’s backheel from a Utaka cross ricocheted off his own legs past Almunia.
Arsenal should have made it four but Diaby sent his seven-yard header wide when it was harder to miss and then Johnson had a long-range shot well saved by Almunia.
David Nugent was denied by Toure as Pompey finished with a flourish but Arsenal were already out of sight.