Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lauded Danny Welbeck after the striker scored his first goals since injuring his knee last May to help his side thrash Southampton 5-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday (28/01/17).
Welback, back in the starting line-up after a lengthy hiatus following a knee surgery, put Arsenal in control with two goals inside the first 22 minutes then set up Arsenal’s third for Theo Walcott before half-time.
“We were very dynamic, explosive and overall we had a good consistent performance over 90 minutes and everybody played well. 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,” said Wenger.
“He was very sharp because he has been working very hard. He has gone through some tough moments mentally.But his resilience was absolutely marvellous and he was rewarded tonight, so we are happy,” he added.
The Gunners, with Wenger watching from the stands as he starts a four-match touchline ban, added more misery on the Saints after the break, sending on Alexis Sanchez as substitute to create two goals for Walcott.
Manager Claude Puel who made 10 changes to his side, said that he was responsible for their defeat.
“I am responsible for the defeat. If I had to do other team at the start I would make the same because it is a difficult moment for us with all these games. We had nine players not available and I had to protect some players. It is not possible to play every three days with the same players and with some players with injuries,” said Puel.
“It was a good lesson, they are a great team. We started the game without good experience and were nervous. It was better in the final 10 minutes of the first half and in the second half it was interesting – it was a good reaction in the collective,” he added.
This was Southampton’s joint-heaviest defeat at the St Mary’s Stadium, equalling their 6-1 loss to Liverpool in the League Cup last season.