Ruthless Arsenal hit Bulgarian opponents for six in Champions League
PUBLISHED: 21:51 19 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:51 19 October 2016
Arsenal's first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger's men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.
Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring early on at the Emirates with a tremendous chip for his second goal of the competition, while Theo Walcott continued his fine scoring form to give the Gunners a commanding 2-0 lead at half time.
The second half was a formality for the hosts, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting on the scoresheet early on and Mesut Ozil grabbing his first Arsenal hat-trick in front of the 59,944 in attendance, as the Gunners maintained their spot at the top of Group A ahead of Paris Saint Germain.
Wenger made four changes from the side which narrowly dispatched Swansea City on Saturday, with David Ospina replacing Petr Cech in goal, while Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deputised for Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi on the left-hand side.
Francis Coquelin also came in for Granit Xhaka, who only made the bench following his red card in that 3-2 victory against Swansea.
Ludogorets manager Georgi Demendzhiev decided to stick with the same side that lost 3-1 at home to PSG on Matchday two, with Jonathan Cafu, the club’s record signing, leading the line.
The opening chance of the first half fell to Walcott, who misplaced his pass to Ozil from a great position after being found by Sanchez in the ninth minute.
The breakthrough came just three minutes later, when Sanchez was released down the left-hand channel by Oxlade-Chamberlain, before steadying himself and lofting a delicious lob over the outstretched Vladimir Stoyanov from the edge of the area.
It should have been two for Arsenal shortly after, as Oxlade-Chamberlain was gifted a golden opportunity to give Walcott a tap-in from six yards out, but placed far too much power in his pass, and the ball trickled behind harmlessly.
Ludogorets had scored 12 goals from their last three away games coming into the match, and nearly made in 13 in the 32nd minute, when Ospina was forced to dart off his line and palm the ball away from the onrushing Cafu, only for it to fall to Wanderson, who dragged his shot wide from a threatening position.
Top scorer Walcott made it 2-0 to the Gunners in the 42nd minute, as he collected a cross from Ozil just outside the area, before sending a rasping effort past the gloves of Stoyanov for his third goal in the Champions League this season and eighth in all competitions.
Oxlade-Chamberlain made it three immediately after the restart, dispatching his drive from close range into the bottom right-hand corner after good work from Gibbs.
It was soon four. A pinpoint aerial pass from Santi Cazorla found Ozil, who raced clear of the defence and made no mistake, slotting the ball low past Stoyanov.
The German playmaker rounded off the rout in supreme style, converting two late chances which were both laid on a plate by substitute Lucas Perez to bag his fifth and sixth goals of the season and complete the 6-0 romp, in a stellar Arsenal display.
Follow me on Twitter: @Joe_Nelson1994