Arsenal defeated Ludogorets by five goals to nothing in a thrilling encounter at the Emirate stadium. The Gunners from the commencement of the match to the final whistle harried their valiant opponent with unrelenting attacking play from every part of the pitch. In fact, one would need to stretch one’s football memory back to 2004/2005 football season and beyond to find a past Arsenal team that approaches the completeness of the present one in terms of the technical abilities of players, the depth of the squad and the fluidity of tactical formation in the starting eleven that enables each player to function in multiple roles.
The first goal of the match was scored by Alexis Sanchez, who masterfully controlled a pass that was crossed to him; beat an on rushing Ludogorets defender before lofting the ball over the goal keeper into the net.
A Mesut Ozil’s well-laid cross from the left flank to Theo Walcott was curled into the net by the in-form winger to increase the score line to two goals for the home side.
Oxalade-Chamberlain scored the third goal of the match from Gibbs’s cross that was deflected by a Ludogorets’ defender into his path.
Mesut Ozil made it four when he latched onto a Santi Carzola pass from their own half of the pitch; he controlled the ball superbly before slipping it beyond the keeper into the net.
Goal number five came from Mesut Ozil again, this time he simply tapped into an empty net a cross from the left flank made by second half substitute Lucas Perez.
The final goal of the match was also scored by Ozil, once again receiving a cross from the pacy Lucas Perez.
Though the Bulgarian suffered a heavy defeat, they gave a good account of themselves during the match. When the ball was in their possession, they were able to link passes together and launch their own attacks.
Arsenal should have gone ahead in the 8th minute of the first half had Theo Walcott shot with greater precision the pass that was fed to him from Alexis Sanchez.
The Bulgarian side had their own chances, though very few in numbers. The visitors also had a shot that hit the post, and they were always very dangerous whenever they were able to breach Arsenal’s defence.
Alexis Sanchez, operating as a false nine was a source of trouble to Ludogoret with his pace, ball distribution and dribbling runs along tight channels. His unpredictable inter-change of positions with his fellow front men made the opponents unable check his attacking play.
Mesut Ozil scored a hat trick, but it worth mentioning that the German international played a pivotal role alongside Carzola in setting Ludogorets defence in disarray. Ozil played as though he has his eye located at the back of his head. In situations where other players would shoot at the goal post, Ozil would still take time out in the heat of an offensive play to feed a pass to an unmarked opponent.
Santi Carzola’s play in the mid-field facilitated the link-up play between the defense and the attack. The diminutive mid-fielder was running through the tight spaces in between Ludogorets’ players and feeding passes to his strikers upfront.
Oxalade- Chamberline who came in for Alex Iwobi troubled Jordan Minev with his direct running from the left flank. His effectiveness in the role saw him score a goal and providing an assist.
Theo Walcott playing on the right flank was just as effective as his counterpart on the left. Had he shown more composure in front of goal he would have score more than the single goal he had in the match.
Mustafi and Koscielny handled the attacking threat of Jonathan Cafu with remarkable ease. The understanding between the two central continues to grow in every match they play together.
Arsenal peppered their opponents from the flanks from the attacking play of their full backs, Keiran Gibbs and Hector Bellirin. The ability of these defenders to join the attack whenever the opportunity presented itself added bite to Arsenal’s attacking threat.
If Arsenal can play their subsequent matches in the manner they did against Ludogorets – they stand a very good chance of making it to the final stages of this competition which they have never won since its inception.