Mesut Ozil bagged his first Arsenal hat trick as Arsene Wenger’s side romped to a 6-0 win over Ludogorets in the Champions League to put themselves in a commanding position in Group A.
Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott put the Gunners in control with one delicate and one powerful finish respectively, before Alex Oxlade Chamberlain extended the lead just after half time. It was the Ozil show in the second half, as the German playmaker was on the end of some rapid counter attacking football.
Ludogorets were not quite as hapless as the scoreline suggests, and carried plenty of threat in the first half. David Ospina had to rush out of his goal to make an important intervention at 1-0. The gulf in class was more visible at the other end though, and given that some chances still went a begging, this was a very comfortable evening’s work for Arsenal.
We looked at how their player’s rated in this thumping European win.
David Ospina- 8/10
Took his place between the sticks in place of Petr Cech, as is customary in the Champions League these days. It feels odd giving a goalkeeper an eight when his team won by six goals, but the Colombian made some good saves in the first half. Rushed out of his goal to palm the ball away from Virgil Misidjan in the first half before Wanderson skimmed the post with the score at 1-0.
Kieran Gibbs- 7/10
A rare start for the Englishman as Nacho Monreal was rested (or some might suggest dropped after the Spaniard was given a rough ride against Swansea). Was never beaten in a one against one all night. The Bulgarian side have plenty of pace up front, so his extra speed was an asset for Arsenal. Decent cut back led to the third goal.
Laurent Koscielny- 7/10
A horrible misjudgement of a simple ball over the top meant Ospina had to make that vital first-half save, but that aside was his usual solid self. Fantastic slide tackle set off the move the resulted in Arsenal’s fourth and Ozil’s first.
Shkodran Mustafi- 7/10
Was rarely troubled as Ludogorets better moments tended to come from their right flank. Has settled in very quickly at Arsenal, and coped with some exacting tests already in the shape of Diego Costa and Sam Vokes. Tonight was far less taxing, but didn’t put a foot wrong.
Hector Bellerin- 6/10
As assured as always, Arsenal must make tying the Spaniard down on a long term deal one of their priorities. Ludogorets left plenty of space in behind, and Bellerin under hit some fairly straight forward through balls in the first half that could have set Arsenal away.
Santi Cazorla- 6/10
Was the first Arsenal player to be substituted, and has been used an awful lot this season already for a player who turns 32 in December. Was as tidy and proficient in possession as you might expect, but can leave Arsenal a tad exposed to the counter attack when stationed as the deepest midfielder
Francis Coquelin- 8/10
Recently back from a knee injury, Coquelin settled back into Arsenal’s midfield like he had never been away. Will play in the next two league games against Middlesbrough and Sunderland due to Granit Xhaka’s suspension, and Wenger will not lose any sleep about playing him. Covers the ground so rapidly, has bite in the tackle and his passing, often maligned by Emirates regulars, was sharp and incisive.
Theo Walcott- 7/10
It says plenty about Walcott’s form at present that a game in which he scores a goal from outside the box only gets him a seven. Terrific strike for the goal, though a better goalkeeper might have got a hand to it. Worked hard as per usual nowadays, and enjoyed the green grass the men in green left in behind.
Mesut Ozil- 9/10
Wins an extra mark for the hat trick, and his goalscoring has become something of a feature this season. Seems to be relishing the responsibility of being a leader in this Arsenal team, and his runs beyond the last line of defence are very underrated (and more importantly, undetected). Has scored home and away against Manchester United, at home to Bayern Munich and at home to Chelsea in the last 12 months, as well as bagging assists against City and Spurs. Any ‘let’s see him do it in a big game’ talk is facetious.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain- 8/10
Little by little, Chamberlain seems to be getting his confidence back. Far fewer errors in possession than has been the case, from his role on the left he often looked inside and passed the ball intelligently. Should have done better when in a great position with a chance to square for Walcott in the first half, but took his goal with the minimum of fuss. Left wing is perhaps not his best position, but a good night’s work.
Alexis Sanchez- 8/10
His goal got the ball rolling, and what an impudent finish it was; stepping inside the defender and chipping the ball over the keeper’s head into the far corner. They say strikers are judged on goals, but the Chilean brings so much more than that. The change in position looks to have enthused him after a difficult campaign last year. Gave Ludogorets defenders twisted blood at the start of the second half with about five turns in as many seconds.
Lucas Perez- 7/10
It will be difficult for Arsenal’s summer signing to carve out a space in the first XI, but he looks a very useful addition. Square shouldered and quick across the ground, Perez looks like he will be able to mix it in English football with no problem whatsoever. Looked more comfortable when he moved through the middle; superb cross for Ozil’s second and Arsenal’s fifth.
Mohamed Elneny- 6/10
Got 20 mins at the close of the game, and kept things moving in his usual unfussy manner.
Alex Iwobi- 6/10
A brief cameo late on. It says much about his rapid rise that he is being saved for Premier League action this weekend.
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