december 29, 2012 • 03:49 PM
• last update 03:59 PM
Walcott hat trick leads Arsenal 7-3 over Newcastle
Theo Walcott scored a hat trick as Arsenal hit six second-half goals on Saturday to thrash Newcastle 7-3 and record its fourth straight win in the Premier League.
Walcott played in his preferred central striking role and showed why Arsenal is eager to retain him when his contract expires in the offseason, completing the scoring in the 90th minute with an impudent chip after a dribbling run that eluded several defenders.
Walcott says "it's just showing what I can do but hopefully I've opened a few eyes."
Olivier Giroud scored twice, while Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also found the net for Arsenal.
Demba Ba was on target twice for Newcastle, with Sylvain Marveaux also scoring.
At the other end of the standings,
Reading climbed three points clear of last-place Queens Park Rangers by beating
West Ham 1-0 thanks to Pavel Pogrebnyak's fifth-minute goal. It was only Reading's second win of the season.
Southampton slipped into relegation zone
despite drawing 3-3 at Stoke, which equalized in the last minute through a wondrous goal by
Cameron Jerome, because
Wigan piled on the misery for Aston Villa by winning 3-0 at Villa Park.
Villa has now conceded
15 goals — and failed to score — in three matches over the festive period to lie just a point and a place above the bottom three.
Fulham's poor form continued with a 2-1 home loss to Swansea, leaving the hosts with just one win in 12 league games.
Arsenal's Theo Walcott (R) celebrates his third goal against Newcastle United by doing a dance routine with Kieran Gibbs during their English Premier League soccer match at The Emirates stadium in London December 29, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
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