Theo Walcott netted a hat-trick and Danny Welbeck scored twice as Arsenal steamrollered Southampton to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Against his former club, Walcott made a statement of intent to manager Arsene Wenger, who was serving the first of a four-match touchline ban, with three goals in a rout at St Mary’s Stadium. Arguably the biggest plus for the Gunners was the performance of Welbeck, whose brace capped his first start for the club since returning from a serious knee injury. Southampton could not repeat their heroics from midweek when they stunned Liverpool in the semi-final of the EFL Cup. Here are three things we learnt from Arsenal’s stroll on the south coast.
Welbeck’s return from injury is another option for Wenger
The former Manchester United striker is now 26 years old, but his career has yet to take-off. Injuries have plagued Welbeck in recent times, particularly since he made a surprise move to Arsenal on deadline day in 2014. This was his first start for eight months and he could not have dreamt of making a bigger impact. Welbeck’s double underlined his ruthlessness in front of goal, while there was also an assist. For his first, he sprung the offside trap and clipped the ball over young keeper Harry Lewis and into the net, via the underside of the crossbar. Welbeck didn’t have to wait long for his second either, latching on to a long pass by ex-Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before sliding the ball underneath Lewis. Wenger is always a reluctant spender – particularly in January – and will view Welbeck’s return as like a new signing that boosts his attacking options. Crucially, the England man does hot appear to have lost his sharpness despite having suffered two serious knee injuries in 20 months. This bodes well for both Arsenal and the national team.