Arsenal finished off Ludogorets Razgrad efficiently at the Emirates thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a fine Mesut Ozil hat-trick, but they had David Ospina to be thankful for after some terrific saves in the first half.
The Gunners lined up with four changes from the team that beat Swansea at the weekend, David Ospina coming in for Petr Cech while Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the surprise inclusions. Francis Coquelin came in for Granit Xhaka to get some minutes after recently returning from injury.
Arsenal started the first half very brightly, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott finding space in behind the Bulgarians defence. Alexis opened the scoring after 20 minutes delivering a stunning chip from the edge of the box, leaving the Ludogrets goalkeeper well stranded. Walcott doubled the lead with an excellent shot from distance before halftime.
There was excellent movement from the Arsenal frontline throughout, the Gunners could’ve easily been three of four up by half-time considering the amount of opportunities that they created.
The Bulgarians did however have a number of opportunities to bring themselves back into the game but Ospina was very solid when required and receives a rating to compliment a spotless performance.
The second half started very well for the Arsenal. Gibbs stormed down the left and found himself in a promising position to cut back, the ball deflected out to Oxlade-Chamberlain who made no mistake with a fine side-footed finish. Mesut Ozil capped off the evening with THREE composed finishes after being sent clear from a highly industrious lobbed ball from Santi Cazorla and then Lucas Perez dishing up two assists late on.
All in all a perfect evening.
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Here’s how we’ve rated the Arsenal players:
GK) David Ospina – 8
Called into action midway through the first half with an excellent save, and came to the rescue on a couple of occasions with fantastic saves after Mustafi and Koscielny respectively failed to clear dangerous through-balls.
RB) Hector Bellerin – 7
Was less productive going forward by his usual standard but got well stuck in and did not have too much trouble down his flank. Showed his rapid pace late on with a very good tackle in the box.
CB) Laurent Koscielny – 7.5
A good performance from Laurent Koscielny. The centre-back put in a good shift bar that dodgy through-ball that he failed to deal with. One flying sliding tackle in particular showed what the Frenchman is all about. No nonsense defending. Managed four interceptions to his partners one and completed five tackles.
CB) Shkodran Mustafi – 6.5
Was saved blushes by Ospina after failing to deal with a ball across the box. Did little else wrong however with Koscielny often the man to charge ahead.
LB) Kieran Gibbs – 7
The Englishman earned a rare start and did well. Played a big part in the Ox goal that killed off the game with a good run and cutback down the left hand side. He’ll look forward to the upcoming EFL cup tie against Reading to get some more action.
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