Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick and Danny Welbeck a brace as Arsenal cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a clinical 5-0 demolition of a much-altered Southampton side at St Mary’s.
Only days after defeating Liverpool to reach the final of the League Cup, Claude Puel decided to make 10 changes in fielding an almost unrecognisable side and their inexperience showed.
Despite Arsene Wenger, starting a touchline ban, also making 10 changes, the north Londoners had far more strength in depth with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and the returning Welbeck and Walcott to draw upon.
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And the difference in quality was marked, Welbeck - making his first start in 265 days - finishing off two slick moves to bag a brace within the opening 22 minutes before turning provider for Walcott to slide home.
The second half was no better for the poor Saints as star substitute Alexis Sanchez set up Walcott for a composed fourth before the winger completed his hat-trick, again from Sanchez’s pass.

Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck (R) celebrates scoring

Image credit: AFP

TALKING POINT

Did Puel disrespect the FA Cup? It may have been only days since the League Cup victory but this looked a desperate line-up and taking a pasting will do little to inspire confidence for the games to come.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Theo Walcott (Arsenal): Mention must go to Oxlade-Chamberlain and the returning Welbeck but Walcott’s well taken hat-trick against his old club wins out.

PLAYER RATINGS

Southampton: Lewis 5, Martina 6, Stephens 5, Gardos 6, McQueen 6, Reed 6, Clasie 7, Hojbjerg 7, Sims 6, Isgrove 6, Long 6. Subs: Tadic 6, Redmond 6.
Arsenal: Ospina 6, Bellerin 7, Mustafi 7, Holding 6, Gibbs 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 8, Maitland-Niles 7, Walcott 9, Reine-Adelaide 7, Perez 7, Welbeck 8. Subs: Sanchez 8, Iwobi 6.

KEY MOMENTS

15’ – GOAL! Southampton 0-1 Arsenal. A lovely move as Perez flicks the ball to Welbeck and he lifts the ball over Lewis and off the underside of the bar. Great goal.
22’ – GOAL! Southampton 0-2 Arsenal. And it’s Danny Welbeck again with an excellent first touch to bring the ball down from Oxlade-Chamberlain before slotting it past Lewis. Another great goal.
25’ - SAVE! Long finds himself goalside after a sensational ball from Martina and his shot needs a good save from Ospina to keep it out.
35’ – GOAL! Southampton 0-3 Arsenal. This time it’s Welbeck who turns provider, crossing in for Walcott to slide in and slot home.
69’ – GOAL! Southampton 0-4 Arsenal. They scythe through Southampton again and Sanchez sets Walcott for a composed fourth.
84’ – GOAL! Southampton 0-5 Arsenal. Another beautiful move if finished off by Theo Walcott, running onto Sanchez’s cut back and complete his hat-trick. It’s been a rout!
89' - SAVE! Now Perez is clean through on goal but Lewis makes himself big and makes a good save to prevent a sixth.

KEY STATS

Arsenal have won at St Mary’s for the first time in any competition since December 2003.
Theo Walcott scores his first Arsenal hat-trick since 24th May 2015.
Alexis Sanchez has now been directly involved in 28 goals in 29 games for Arsenal across all competitions this season.
Danny Welbeck has scored 2 goals in a game for Arsenal for the first time since October 2014.

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