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Ozil Hat-trick, Sanchez Gem Inspire Rutless Arsenal

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 on Wednesday. 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.

Prime form

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.

About Editor

Otunba Sayo Akintola is a 1992 graduate of Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. He holds a post-graduate diploma in Financial Management and MBA from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He started his 12-year sojourn in journalism at the Nigerian Tribune in 1993 as Business and Economy reporter. He rose through the ranks to become the Group Business Editor of the nation’s oldest surviving private national newspaper, the Nigerian Tribune. He set up World Street Journal magazine in 2018.

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