Arsene Wenger felt he enjoyed the ideal match to observe Arsenal from high up in the stands as his men thumped Southampton 5-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Wenger began a four-game touchline ban at St Mary’s as punishment for his altercation with the fourth official in the closing moments of last weekend’s dramatic 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley.
Danny Welbeck marked his first Arsenal start in almost eight months with a wonderfully taken brace before Theo Walcott put his former club to the sword by netting a hat-trick.
Southampton were much changed from their EFL Cup semi-final triumph over Liverpool in midweek but the 10 alterations made by Wenger to his side, which was helmed at close quarters by assistant Steve Bould, showcased particularly impressive strength in depth.
“When you score goals it looks good from everywhere,” Wenger told BT Sport.
“Overall it was good to watch because we had a good game dynamic, very explosive as well and always very dangerous – in control.
“Of course, against a young Southampton team, but overall I believe we had a good 90 minutes.”
Welbeck’s last start came against Manchester City last May and the England forward’s sharpness took his boss by surprise.
“Welbeck has been out for such a long time, I didn’t expect him to score straight away and it shows the desire is there,” he said, before explaining the thinking behind a remodelled line-up.
“People say I make changes but I bring in Walcott, Welbeck and [Lucas] Perez, all top quality players. After that I try to find the best balance for the team.”
Walcott celebrated in reserved fashion after downing his boyhood club, who he will be firmly behind when they visit Wembley in the first showpiece final of the season next month.
“Southampton tend to be our bogey side but from the word go we were ready,” the England winger said.
“We came out of the blocks running and Danny Welbeck came back with a bang.
“We created a lot of chances and it was nice to have the clean sheet.
“Southampton will always be in my heart I have some great memories here, they are a strong team and I will cheer them on in the EFL Cup final.”
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