Date: 29th January 2017 at 8:51pm
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Manager Arsene Wenger was a pleased man as he saw Arsenal take a comprehensive victory over Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round tie this weekend.

Making the trip to St Mary’s Stadium to face off once more against former player Claude Puel, Southampton haven’t done badly against us in recent times really, so taking the five nil victory and booking our place pretty comfortably into the fifth round draw was certainly the boost Wenger would’ve wanted as he begins his four games away from the dug out.

With Danny Welbeck getting the brace on the day and Theo Walcott helping himself to a hattrick it was clear which players in particular would be picked out for praise when Wenger spoke to the Official Site and the wider assembled media in his post game press interviews.

On Welbeck and his return from injury, the gaffer explained.

‘I knew that he worked very hard, but you never know how much efficiency there will be – to transfer that into a competitive game. I think it was great to see that he hasn`t lost his runs, he hasn`t lost his finishing. It shows as well, when you are able to transform that frustration of not playing into efficiency, that`s a special guy.’

Asked if Welbeck had shown signs of losing any of his game from his lengthy spell out injured, Wenger built on the above by adding.

‘It didn`t look that way at all. We have always two fears – the first is that it takes him too long to get the decision-making, and secondly that the player is scared to go into any contact. When he made the runs and was fighting the defender, for me that was a very important moment for him. He worked very hard and he went through some moments of very deep disappointment. When he had the setback and we had to go in the knee again, when you`re a professional football player, that`s absolutely difficult. After the first disappointment, he became even more resilient and worked even harder. He`s highly respected inside the club because he has shown so much dedication, never moaned, worked very hard and tonight everybody is delighted for him.’

Did Wenger have any doubts about Welbeck coming back strongly following his setbacks?

‘You wonder. I wondered first of all if he`d be solid enough mentally to cope with that. I`m not a medical specialist but you hope that it will all go well after he comes back after the second surgery.’

As for his thoughts on Walcott and the game more specifically, Wenger went on to say.

‘It was pleasant to watch because we had individual strong performances and collectively as well. I liked the fact that we didn`t lose our concentration. It didn`t become easy when it was 3-0, we kept playing the way we want to play. It was pleasant to watch and it was a good opportunity to see players who have come back, like Welbeck, be so convincing. We saw some young players in midfield who, in my opinion, have done very well. Theo is a good finisher and the chances we created were very good. When he finishes with one touch, he`s very quick to respond. He has a short backlift and is very accurate with his finishing.’

On the performance itself.

‘Yes, it was a tremendous team performance. For example we won 5-0 but our goalkeeper was very good and from number one to 11, I would say everybody had a good performance. We looked as well like a real team, it was compact, well-organised, explosive on the transitions and overall of course I am pleased for Danny Welbeck who is not at the club for a long time and for Walcott that they scored the goals. Overall we behaved like a real, compact, united team.’

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