Ozil tre­ble, Sanchez gem in­spire ram­pant Arse­nal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Me­sut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez showed why their value to Arse­nal is price­less as the peer­less duo in­spired a 6-0 thrash­ing of Bul­gar­ian min­nows Lu­do­gorets in the Cham­pi­ons League yes­ter­day.

Gun­ners boss Arsene Wenger has urged Ozil and Sanchez not to get greedy af­ter re­ports they both plan to demand Arse­nal in­crease their wages to £250,000-per-week ($307,000, 279,000 eu­ros) when con­tract talks are re­opened later this month. Sanchez and Ozil’s cur­rent deals ex­pire in 2018, but Arse­nal want their prize as­sets to com­mit their long-term fu­tures to the club and on the ev­i­dence of their swag­ger­ing dis­plays at the Emi­rates Sta­dium, they should pay them what­ever they want. Sanchez was the cat­a­lyst for Arse­nal’s romp as the for­mer Barcelona star net­ted his sixth goal of the sea­son with a quite bril­liant first half chip, while Ger­man mid­fielder Ozil smashed a sec­ond half hat-trick.

Theo Wal­cott and Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain were also on the score­sheet for ram­pant Arse­nal, who are top of Cham­pi­ons League Group A af­ter three matches and well on course for the last 16. Un­beaten in Europe this sea­son, Arse­nal have now won seven suc­ces­sive matches in all com­pe­ti­tions. Making four changes from the team that beat Swansea on Satur­day, Wenger called for his play­ers to keep their foot on the gas af­ter build­ing some im­pres­sive mo­men­tum in re­cent weeks and the re­sponse was em­phatic.

Af­ter scor­ing twice against Swansea, Wal­cott had a golden op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend his hot streak when Sanchez picked him out un­marked in­side the penalty area.

With only Lu­do­gorets goal­keeper Vladislav Stoy­anov to beat, Wal­cott strangely opted for a cross and his scuffed de­liv­ery was eas­ily cleared.

Wal­cott’s faux pas was never likely to de­rail Arse­nal for long as they cut through the Lu­do­gorets de­fence time and again be­fore tak­ing the lead in the 12th minute.


Tak­ing pos­ses­sion on the left edge of the Lu­do­gorets penalty area af­ter beat­ing the Bul­gar­i­ans’ at­tempted off­side trap, Sanchez looked up and lofted a ma­jes­tic chip that arched over Stoy­anov be­fore nestling into the far cor­ner. While Arse­nal were in prime form go­ing for­ward, they were less con­vinc­ing at the back and Wan­der­son threat­ened with a sting­ing drive that forced David Ospina into ac­tion.

Breached again mo­ments later, Arse­nal were saved by Ospina, who raced off his line and barely got to the ball be­fore col­lid­ing with Vir­gil Misid­jan, who ap­pealed in vain for a penalty.

Ospina also had to be alert to block on the edge of the area be­fore Wan­der­son fired against the wood­work from the re­bound. Wal­cott mis­fired again when he blasted straight at Stoy­anov from close-range, but he made amends in the 42nd minute. Given time to size up his shoot­ing chances 25 yards from goal, Wal­cott pun­ished Lu­do­gorets’ slack mark­ing with a su­perb shot that flashed past the slow-to-re­act Stoy­anov.

With their chances of tak­ing even a point look­ing forlorn, Lu­do­gorets faded in the sec­ond half and Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain pounced on Kieran Gibbs’ half-cleared cross to score Arse­nal’s third goal from 10 yards in the 46th minute.

Wenger’s men weren’t fin­ished yet and Ozil made it four when he raced onto Santi Cazorla’s su­perb long pass and drilled a low strike past Stoy­anov in the 56th minute.

There was still time for Ozil to im­prove his own bid for a bumper new deal as he struck again with a cool fin­ish in the 83rd minute.

Ozil com­pleted his hat-trick in the 87th minute when he blasted home with a fierce close-range vol­ley. — AFP

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