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The Özil show delivered its most thrilling episode of season 4

arsenal vs ludogorets preview champions league 2016

Match Review: Arsenal 6 Ludogorets 0 - Champions League 19.10.15

Champions League thumpings have become a rare thing for Arsenal over the last few years. We’ve dropped down to a number two seeding, meaning we always have a league champion to face off against and we’ve also seen teams like Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach appear in pots three and four. There haven’t been many games where you look at the tie and think, yes we should give this lot an absolute pasting. Until now. Ludogorets were probably the easiest team to get out of pot four and we duly delivered. They’re no mugs, but they couldn’t keep up with us, particularly with the form we’ve been in.

To be fair to the visitors, the 6-0 scoreline masks how well they played in the first half. I got the distinct impression from some of the Arsenal players that they weren’t taking the opposition seriously enough. Despite what I said in the intro, you can’t afford to cruise against any side in this competition. Ludogorets gave us some very scary moments at the back, breaking with pace and causing Ospina to make a few excellent saves. We got away with it a bit and had one of those chances gone in, it could have been a much less comfortable night.

As things panned out though, our extra quality saw us ease ahead. Alexis’ goal has sort of been buried by what happened in the second half, but I think it was almost on a par with the effort he scored for Barca against Real Madrid. He embarrassed a defender, looked up and placed it perfectly over the keeper and into the far corner. No matter the opposition, it was an absolute stunner and up there with his very best goals.

Speaking of stunners, Theo Walcott has had an electric start to the season and added another excellent goal to take his season total to seven. It was also Mesut Özil’s first assist of the season, floating the ball back to the edge of the area when it seemed certain he’d cross it. Theo took a touch and then thumped it past the keeper. Two nil at half time seemed a comfortable half for us, but to be honest there were some nervy moments and I wasn't overly impressed.

Maybe Wenger wasn’t either, as after half time, we seemed to come to life. It only took a minute for Chamberlain to take advantage of a rebound in the box and from then on it was the Özil show. The first was down to a glorious bit of control after Cazorla popped the ball over the top and Özil rolled the ball home. Perez set up the next two, first racing onto a through ball and squaring for Özil to bounce the ball home and then providing a little chip for the German to volley home and complete his hat-trick.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the most complete squad we’ve had in many years. We have quality and depth at every position and players still to come back into the reckoning too. Ramsey and Giroud should be back within the next few games, while Welbeck and Mertesacker should be fit by the new year, right when we need them most. Heartbreak never seems to be far away for us, but at the moment we’re a great team in good form. I’m starting to feel cautiously optimistic about this year and there’s no reason it can’t be a very successful season. One game at a time though and next up is Middlesbrough at home. Let’s keep this brilliant run of form going.

mesut ozil hat trick arsenal

Teams

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla (Elneny 57’), Chamberlain, Özil, Walcott (Perez 62’), Alexis (Iwobi 73’)
Subs
Cech, Monreal, Gabriel, Xhaka, Elneny, Iwobi, Perez

Ludogorets Razgrad (4-4-1-1)

Stoyanov, Minev, Moti, Palomino, Pimienta, Dyakov, Anicet, Misidjan (Keseru 68’), Marcelinho, Wanderson (Lukoki 80’), Barbosa
Subs
Borja, Gusmao, Affini, Junior, Keseru, Plastun, Lukoki

Player Ratings

Ospina - 8/10 - Impressive, kept his concentration and made a few key saves
Bellerin - 7/10 - Solid
Mustafi - 7/10 - Loving his partnership with Koscielny
Koscielny - 7/10 - Captain fantastic
Gibbs - 8/10 - An excellent evening, we have the best left back pairing in the league
Coquelin - 9/10 - Sensational, aggressive and effective all night
Cazorla - 7/10 - Lovely assist for Özil, might have picked up a knock though
Chamberlain - 7/10 - Struggled in the first half but took his goal well
Özil - 9/10 - Anonymous in the first half, but tore the visitors to shreds in the second
Walcott - 8/10 - Wonderful goal and another good performance
Alexis - 8/10 - Sensational goal and a terror for them all night
Subs
Elneny - 7/10 - Good, should start against Reading
Perez - 8/10 - Looked sharp and quick, providing two assists for Özil
Iwobi - N/A

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Tags: Match Review, Match Report, Arsenal vs Ludogorets

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