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 suggested three things we learnt from the Gunners thumping victory…
Xhaka is the future, but Coquelin brings plenty of pluses
Many Arsenal fans were miffed by Wenger’s decision to start Coquelin ahead of their big money summer signing Granit Xhaka at the start of the season, but the Frenchman’s performance last night showed exactly why his manager likes him. To be clear, Xhaka has been very impressive also and is the classier player with the ball, possessing a greater range of passing. The Swiss midfielder has just turned 24 and signed a five-year deal at the Emirates; he will almost certainly establish himself in due course.
However, Coquelin gives Arsenal’s midfield extra athleticism and defensive nous. In the modern game, counter attacking is absolutely vital so having a midfielder that forces lots of turnovers is actually a potent offensive weapon. The former Charlton man won eight tackles and made six interceptions. He was quick across the ground to break up play, and moved the ball cleanly and efficiently to his midfield partners.
Coquelin’s distribution has been criticised, and though he is no Xhaka in this respect, this aspect of his game was sharp. He completed 93% of his passes; an impressive number for a player who is more destructive than constructive. When the ball pops out of the penalty area, Coquelin is very adept and pouncing on loose ball and keeping the pressure on which is a great asset in home games.