Mesut Ozil bagged a second-half hat-trick as Arsenal turned on the style to thrash Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday and move to the verge of the knockout rounds.
The Londoners had far too much firepower for the Bulgarian champions with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott both scoring stunners before the break and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil completing the demolition after it.
Arsenal survived a few defensive lapses in the first half but could have scored more as they cantered to a seventh successive win in all competitions.
Arsene Wenger’s rampant side top Group A on goal difference from Paris St Germain, who also have seven points after beating Basel. Ludogorets and Basel have one point.
Ludogorets, a club only formed five years after Wenger became Arsenal manager, showed plenty of ambition to get forward from the start but were picked off mercilessly.
After 12 minutes they were caught square as Sanchez was sent clear by Oxlade-Chamberlain’s astute pass and the Chilean glanced up before delivering a precise chip over the head of keeper Vladislav Stoyanov.
The crowd settled down to watch the goals mount up but Ludogorets had other ideas and wasted three great opportunities to level as they sliced Arsenal’s rearguard open.
Brazilian Wanderson forced a sharp save from David Ospina before shaving the post with a low shot while Jonathan Cafu also should have done better when through on goal.
Just as the home crowd were becoming edgy Walcott doubled the lead. Receiving the ball from Ozil he was given time to pick his spot before launching an unstoppable right-foot shot from 25 metres into Stoyanov’s net.
The match was over as a contest a minute after halftime as Oxlade-Chamberlain fired home from close range and with Ludogorets falling apart defensively Ozil ran on to Cazorla’s long pass after 56 minutes to make it 4-0.
Ozil tapped home Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass in the 83rd minute and then completed his hat-trick with another simple finish four minutes later.
Results from Wednesday’s Champions League matches:
Ludogorets Razgrad 0
Dynamo Kiev 0
Man City 0
Borussia Monchengladbach 2
Bayern Munich 4
PSV Eindhoven 1
FC Rostov 0
Atletico Madrid 1