Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Cazorla, Coquelin; Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Sanchez.
Subs: Cech, Gabriel, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Iwobi, Lucas
Arsenal had to cope with some difficult first half moments against Ludogorets in the Champions League this evening, but ran out 6-0 winners with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and a hat-trick for Mesut Ozil
Arsene Wenger made four changes from the team that beat Swansea with David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in at the expense of Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi.
The Gunners were overwhelming favourites but the early minutes showed that the visitors weren’t to be taken lightly, Coquelin having to mop up some danger just outside our six yard box.
At the other end Alexis set up Walcott for a chance which was blocked, and when it came back to the England man he decided to try and return the favour – squaring rather than shooting – but the defence cleared.
It seemed to spark Arsenal into life, with Alexis breaking the offside trap and Oxlade-Chamberlain seeing a shot deflect out for a corner. The pressure was mounting and it resulted in a goal from the Chilean after 12 minutes.
The number 7 got down the left, he had men in the middle to square it to, but chose to ignore them and chipped the ball over the keeper into the top corner from inside the box. A sublime finish. 1-0.
It still wasn’t all Arsenal though, with Ospina forced into a decent 19th minute save after they found some space in our box. The keeper was on hand to reclaim the ball minutes later after Cafu threatened, again showing the Bulgarian side were not to be underestimated, and the Colombian saved Arsenal again, diving at the feet of the attacker to prevent what would have been a clear goalscoring opportunity.
At the other end, Oxlade-Chamberlain broke the offside trap, he tried to square it for Walcott but overhit his pass, otherwise he’d have had a tap-in to double the lead.
Ludogorets continued to cause problems, once more Ospina had to get a hand on the ball when they posed a threat, and when he scrambled back into position, their man fired a shot just wide of the far post.
Walcott saw a shot saved after a good pass from Coquelin presented him with a sight of goal, and as Ludogorets looked get back into it, Arsenal went further ahead. Oxlade-Chamberlain played it to Ozil down the left, he pulled the ball back to Walcott outside the D, he took a touch and curled a brilliant shot into the top corner. 2-0.
It ended an odd half in which Arsenal had ridden their luck a little, but could also have been further ahead. There were no changes at the break, and the Gunners came flying out of the blocks – extending their lead just a minute into the second period.
Gibbs was freed down the left, his low cross was blocked away but it fell for Oxlade-Chamberlain who side-footed home with aplomb. 3-0.
Arsenal went four up in the 56th minute. It began with a dangerous break from Ludogorets, stopped by a fantastic tackle from Koscielny. Santi Cazorla picked it up, played it over the top, Ozil stayed onside and rolled the ball home with his right foot. 4-0.
That prompted the first change of the night as Mohamed Elneny came on for the Spaniard who had an ice-pack put onto his ankle as soon as he came off. A couple of minutes later there was another with Lucas Perez replacing Walcott.
Alexis was denied a penalty when he was bundled over in the box, and he almost created a second for Oxlade-Chamberlain with a no-look lob pass over the defence. The Ox ran onto it, and hit a first time shot which the keeper did very well to save.
The England international turned provider then, creating a half-chance for Lucas but the Spaniard could only deflect it over the bar. Alex Iwobi came on for Alexis, who looked most grumpy at going off, but it was a sensible move with Premier League action at the weekend and the game won.
The game went a bit flat then, but Arsenal’s quality when chances came saw the lead extended further. In the 83rd minute Oxlade-Chamberlain set Luacs free down the left, he raced on it, picked out Ozil in the middle and his shot into the ground bounced over the keeper and in for his second of the night. 5-0.
The German got his hat-trick just 2 minutes later, again Lucas was the provider with a lovely cross over the defender which Ozil volleyed in at the near post. 6-0.
In the end a comfortable night and a good scoreline in a group in which goal difference may well be an issue.