Theo Walcott struck a hat-trick against his former club after Danny Welbeck scored twice on his first start since a knee injury in May as Arsenal thrashed Southampton 5-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup at St Mary’s on Saturday.
It was a match between two weakened teams, but the strength in depth of Arsenal, FA Cup winners in 2014 and 2015, ensured the visitors won out.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will have been especially pleased with the performance of Welbeck, who had not started since a 2-2 draw away to Manchester City in May.
It was only the Gunners’ second win at St Mary’s in seven attempts and was sweet revenge for a 4-0 defeat at the south coast ground in the Premier League last season.
Welbeck put Arsenal ahead with his first goal since the winner in a 1-0 victory over Norwich on April 30 last year and added a second before Walcott got in on the act before the break, adding two more in the second half.
Both managers made 10 changes to the teams that started their previous matches, with Southampton having reached the League Cup final after a strenuous midweek tie against Liverpool at Anfield.
Only young central defender Jack Stephens kept his place, while goalkeeper Harry Lewis, whose only previous first-team games for the Saints had been made in the third-round tie and replay against Norwich City, replaced Fraser Forster ahead of regular second-choice Stuart Taylor.
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