Mesut Ozil scored his first professional hat-trick as Arsenal thrashed Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League at the Emirates on Wednesday evening.
The German international scored all three of his goals in the second half (56, 83 and 87) as Arsene Wenger’s men took a significant step towards the knockout stages.
The Gunners were sent on their way in the 12th minute by Alexis Sanchez’s brilliant lofted finish before Theo Walcott fired in from the edge of the box to continue his rich vein of form and double his side’s advantage.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a third a minute after the break before Ozil took over and rounded off the scoring as Wenger recorded his 100th win in all European competitions as Arsenal boss.
Arsenal, who were joined level on points at the top of Group A by PSG after their 3-0 win against Basel, can now book their place in the next round when they take on Ludogorets again on November 1.
Arsenal, who made four changes from the side that beat Swansea at the weekend, started brightly with Sanchez racing in behind the Ludogorets defence after being played in by Ozil, but the Chile international’s shot was easily blocked.
However, Arsenal were soon in front and it was a moment of real quality from Sanchez, who latched onto Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass before cutting inside the sliding challenge of Cosmin Moti and lifting the ball over the Vladislav Stoyanov into the far corner.
Wenger’s side were in full control but Ludogorets were causing problems on the break and David Ospina, in goal in place of Petr Cech, needed to be alert to parry Wanderson’s powerful drive.
Shkodran Mustafi then misjudged a ball into the box allowing Virgil Misidjan in on goal but Ospina showed brilliant reactions to win the ball at the feet of the forward.
At the other end Arsenal should have doubled their advantage in the 29th minute but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sloppy pass failed to pick out Walcott with the goal at the England forward’s mercy.
And it nearly proved to be costly because Arsenal needed Ospina to intervene with Misidjan in on on goal again before Wanderson fired a shot agonisingly wide.
Walcott was then denied by Stoyanov in the 35th minute but the England forward made amends, pulling away to the edge of the penalty area to control Ozil’s cross before firing a powerful right-footed shot into the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Arsenal roared out of the traps after the break, cementing victory with two quick goals to double their lead.
Kieran Gibbs’ cross eventually found its way to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who swept the ball home from close range, before Ozil raced through onto Santi Cazorla’s brilliant long-range pass to calmly finish for Arsenal’s fourth.
With victory secured Arsenal set about putting a gloss on the scoreline and Ozil was the star of the show.
As the game opened up, second-half substitute Lucas Perez laid on both of Ozil’s late goals in an excellent cameo that will cheer Wenger.
But the final word was with Ozil, who became the fifth Arsenal player to score a Champions League hat-trick on a superb night for the Gunners.