Champions League

UCL: Arsenal Hits Ludogorets for 6

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates after scoring a hat-trick to make it 6-0 behind a dejected looking Vladislav Stoyanov of Ludogorets during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at Emirates Stadium on October 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
UCL: Arsenal Hits Ludogorets for 6

A second half hat-trick from Mesut Ozil capped off a tantalizing display from Arsene Wenger’s men as Arsenal romped to a 6-0 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad.

The win marked the London club’s 100th win in all European competitions under its long serving French manager and kept Arsenal at the top of Group A on seven points, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain on goal difference.

The 6-0 score-line was both fair and harsh on the Bulgarian side.

From the opening whistle the defending was naive and porous. Theo Walcott and co enjoyed acres of space on the right wing while Arsenal also looked capable of cutting open a Ludogorets back-line that never figured out it’s spacing with every single attack.

The0, however, was not indicative of the attacking enterprise displayed by the Bulgarian champions. Ludogorets, as Wenger had warned before the match, was especially dangerous on the counter attack. The passing was swift and imaginative as Ludogorets pieced together sweeping moves that often put them into dangerous positions, only for the final ball to go wanting.

 

Ludogorets’ counter-attacks often had Arsenal scrambling. The buildup play through midfield was quick and easy on the eye, but with the end product lacking, Ludogorets could not change the narrative. The Gunners punished them, turning the defense inside out and their chances into goals.

It took Arsenal just 12 minutes to get on the board as Alexis Sanchez continued his fine run of form with a world class chip. After getting in behind the back-line, the Chilean received a through ball from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and cut behind an onrushing defender before completing the move with a sumptuous finish.

 

Ludogorets looked capable of grabbing the game’s next goal, attacking with numbers at speed. The Arsenal back-line looked a bit lost in transition.

Just after 20 minutes, Jonathan Cafu broke through the back-four and rounded Ospina who had taken him out wide. Cafu panicked and shot back into the flailing keeper when Ludogorets players were cuing up in the box for a tap in.

The visitors were at it again on 27 minutes as Virgil Misidjan breached the defense on the right only for his angled drive to be well saved by Ospina.

A reminder of Ludogorets’ defensive frailties presented itself less than a minute later as Sanchez threaded the ball through for Oxlade-Chamberlain to square across goal, only to lack a final touch.

Walcott created numerous chances on the right, but he cut inside to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead with a screamer. Ozil sent in a cross from the left which Walcott killed instantly before taking a touch to evade a challenge and unleashing a ferocious drive that had the entirety of the Emirates on its feet.

 

The three points were all but confirmed less than a minute after the restart as Oxlade-Chamberlain was rewarded for his endeavor, steering home a lose ball after the Ludogorets defense failed to clear a Kieran Gibbs cross.

While Arsenal continued to play the kind of intricate soccer that Wenger dreams about, the fourth goal was a counter-attack masterclass that should be studied by pupils world wide.

In the 56th, Ludogorets looked to threaten on a break of their own, but Laurent Koscielny got back to make a terrific tackle before passing the ball to Santiago Cazorla. The Spaniard immediately played the ball to a streaking Ozil who took one touch to settle and another to guide the ball past the onrushing keeper.

Ozil’s second came seven minutes from time. Again, Ludogorets was undone by a through ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain for Lucas down the left. The substitute squared for Ozil to finish at the back post.

The German completed his hat-trick with three minutes remaining to confirm Arsenal’s dominance. Lucas was again the provider, this time latching onto a through ball down the right before chipping for Ozil to finish with a neatly struck volley.

Arsenal and Ludogorets will meet again in 13 days time on match-day 4 in Bulgaria.

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