Walcott hat-trick as Arsenal crush Blackpool 6-0

London: Theo Walcott was back to his scintillating best with a hat-trick as Arsenal thrashed 10-man Blackpool 6-0 to bring the promoted side crashing back to Premier League reality on Saturday.

Walcott scored two in the first half before adding a superb third while an Andrei Arshavin penalty and goals by Abou Diaby and Marouane Chamakh piled on the agony for the visitors, who won their opening game 4-0 at Wigan Athletic last week.

Blackpool defender Ian Evatt was sent off after 31 minutes for bringing down Chamakh, leading to Arshavin`s penalty.

Gareth Bale hit two goals, the second a brilliant top-corner volley from a tough angle, as Tottenham Hotspur won 2-1 at Stoke City.

The Londoners were helped by a controversial late decision that denied Stoke an equaliser when the referee ruled a Jon Walters header was not over the line before Peter Crouch cleared the ball.

In other games Bolton Wanderers won 3-1 at West Ham United, Birmingham City beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 and promoted West Bromwich Albion edged Sunderland 1-0. Everton were held 1-1 at home by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea visit Wigan Athletic -- the team they destroyed 8-0 on the final day of last season to secure the title -- later on Saturday.

Manchester United visit Fulham on Sunday while Manchester City host Liverpool on Monday night.

Bureau Report

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