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Published: 20:21 | 19/10/16

Arsenal thrash Ludogorets

Mesut Ozil netted a brilliant second-half hat-trick, as Arsenal thrashed Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League at the Emirates on Wednesday night.

The Gunners were already 3-0 up thanks to first-half strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, and an early second-half goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before the German World Cup winner turned on the style to claim the first hat-trick of his career.

Arsenal, with seven points from three matches, are now level at the top of Group A with Paris Saint-Germain, and the matchday five fixture against the French champions at the Emirates looks likely to go some way to sorting out who will win the group.

The emphatic victory over the Bulgarian champions means Arsenal have now scored two goals or more in nine consecutive Champions League group games at the Emirates, but, for all the impressive attacking skills of Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, manager Arsene Wenger is likely to give goalkeeper David Ospina a grateful pat on the back in the dressing-room afterwards for his three important saves in the first half.

The Gunners opened the scoring on 12 minutes, thanks to a sublime chip from the left-hand edge of the box by Sanchez from Oxlade-Chamberlain's pass, but over the next 20 minutes the Premier League side stepped off the gas, and Ludogorets really should have equalised as Arsenal's centre-back pairing Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi struggled.

But Ospina, dropped from Champions League duties last year after his clanger against Olympiacos, repaid Wenger's faith with sharp stops from Wanderson and, twice, from Virgil Misidjan.

And Georgi Dermendzhiev's side's hopes of a comeback were dashed when Walcott netted his seventh goal in six games with a rasping drive from the edge of the box from Ozil's cutback just before half-time.

Oxlade-Chamberlain swept home a third two minutes after the break from the loose ball following Kieran Gibbs' low cross from the left, before Ozil made it 4-0 on 56 minutes from a lightning fast counter-attack following Koscielny's tackle on his own penalty area on Marcelinho and Santi Cazorla's inch-perfect 40-yard pass.

Ludogorets may have hoped for some mercy as Wenger brought off Sanchez and Walcott, but Ozil wasn't finished yet, with two goals in four minutes from crosses from substitute Lucas Perez to become only the fifth Arsenal player, after Thierry Henry, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Nicolas Bendtner, to net a Champions League hat-trick.

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