Football: Walcott bags three as Gunners go on spree

Arsenal's Theo Walcott (R) celebrates his third goal against Newcastle United with Kieran Gibbs during their English Premier League match at The Emirates stadium in London. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Arsenal's Theo Walcott (R) celebrates his third goal against Newcastle United with Kieran Gibbs during their English Premier League match at The Emirates stadium in London. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Theo Walcott evoked memories of the great Thierry Henry by scoring a dazzling hat-trick to inspire Arsenal to a 7-3 win over Newcastle United in one of the best Premier League games of the season.

The England winger has been pleading for the central striker's role for some time and, playing in his new position, Walcott proved he has what it takes to fill the boots of the London club's all-time top scorer Henry.

"He can play through the middle, I am convinced of that," manager Arsene Wenger told the club's website after his team climbed to fifth in the table, 16 points behind leaders Manchester United.

"He can only get stronger in there. He has done very well and it just typifies what I think he can do."

Walcott was on target in the 20th and 73rd minutes before adding his third goal in stoppage time.

Olivier Giroud (2), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski also struck for Arsenal while two-goal Demba Ba and Sylvain Marveaux replied for Newcastle.