Theo Walcott scored a superb double as Arsenal beat Newcastle 4-0 at St. James’ Park. The victory keeps up Arsenal’s average of 3 goals per game this season.
This season Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has actually fielded stronger teams than in recent years but his line-up at St James’ Park still showed nine changes from their weekend Premier victory over Manchester City.
Newcastle, whose virtual reserve team knocked out a second-string Chelsea in the last round, also made nine changes from their weekend win at West Ham United.
Eboue - Djourou – Koscielny – Gibbs
Denilson – Eastmond – Rosicky
Walcott – Bendtner – Vela
Both sides had good chances in an open first half, with Alan Smith hitting the bar for Newcastle, before Arsenal grabbed the lead just ahead of the interval with a somewhat bizarre goal.
Bendtner, making his first start of the season after recovering from a groin problem, thumped a header goalwards and Ryan Taylor’s attempt to clear it ended with the ball rebounding off his goalkeeper Tim Krul and over the line.
Walcott, in his first start since injuring his ankle playing for England in early September, broke clear to put Arsenal two up eight minutes into the second half but Newcastle were furious that Bendtner, who was returning from an offside position, collided with home defender Mike Williamson, taking him out of the action.
Bendtner completed his busy night when he collected a pass from substitute Cesc Fabregas to cut in and curl home an excellent third goal four minutes from time with Walcott adding a breakaway fourth in stoppage-time.
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