Mesut Ozil scored a hat-trick after stunning goals from Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott as Arsenal dismantled Ludogorets Razgrad in a ruthless Champions League display. Sanchez got the first with a masterful chip from just inside the box. Walcott powered a curling shot home after Ludogorets’ Wanderson hit a post. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed a loose ball into the corner for the third, before Ozil claimed the first hat-trick of his career. The Gunners have won seven games in a row in all competitions – scoring 23 goals – and are unbeaten in 11 matches. Their last defeat was at home to Liverpool on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Victory over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets means Arsenal top Group A ahead of Paris St-Germain, who beat Basel 3-0, on goal difference. As Sanchez’s drifting lob settled in the Ludogorets net, gleeful manager Arsene Wenger leapt from the bench in celebration. It was just the beginning. The Frenchman’s side were so dominant and full of confidence they perhaps should even have won by a greater margin. Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly might have provided a better finish to Sanchez’s beautifully disguised chipped through pass – the Chilean’s second moment of genius on a night his hard running and quick mind came to the fore. But the player who most obviously embodies Arsenal’s new dynamic mood is Walcott. He impressively put two earlier missed chances out of mind when doubling the lead with a powerful strike that signalled the away side’s slide towards heavy defeat. It was the 27-year-old’s seventh goal in his past six Arsenal games, having scored the same amount in his previous 42.
For 60 minutes, Walcott and Sanchez terrified the opposition backline with their pace, and he went off to huge round of applause when he was replaced by Lucas Perez. There were big smiles as he took up a seat on the bench – from both Walcott and Wenger. In each of the past six seasons, Arsenal have fallen at the first knockout stage, the last 16. In all but one of those seasons, they finished second in their group. With Swiss club Basel and Ludogorets six points adrift with three matches to play, Group A will surely be won by Arsenal or French champions PSG. The Gunners began their Champions League campaign with a battling point in Paris, and the two teams meet in north London on 23 November.
Walcott has scored three Champions League goals this season, already his best return in a campaign. Ozil’s assist for Walcott’s goal was his first in 10 games in all competitions for Arsenal this season. This game was the first time since October 2000 two English players scored in a Champions League match for Arsenal (after Ray Parlour and Lee Dixon v Sparta Prague). The Gunners are unbeaten in their first three Champions League group games for the first time since 2011-12. Arsenal scored six goals in a Champions League game for the first time since September 2010 (6-0 v Braga).