Mesut Ozil sent Arsenal’s six-shooters on a centenary romp as manager Arsene Wenger revealed: “He scores when he wants.”
As Ozil’s first treble for the club crowned a swaggering display, Wenger chalked up his 100 th win in Europe with the Gunners.
Alexis Sanchez had begun the rout with the finest chip since Tiger Woods won the Masters after just 12 minutes.
The Chilean wizard checked his stride before scooping a sensational chip over stranded keeper Vladislav Stoyanov as Alexis Sanchez surged to the brink of their customary place in the last 16.
And in a glut of fancy finishing, Theo Walcott fired his eighth goal of the season before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined the party.
Then Ozil tucked into the outclassed Bulgarians with a hat-trick, completing his treble with a volley reminiscent of Robin van Persie’s memorable strike against Everton five years ago.
The German’s lethal finishing vindicated Wenger’s programme notes, where the Arsenal manager revealed: “When you see him in training, he scores basically when he wants.
“You speak with the keepers and he’s one of the most difficult players to predict where he will put the ball.
“I’m happy that he gets goals and I hope that gives him the taste to try more.”
Arsenal’s surge to the brink of the knockout stage in rampant style has effectively turned their home date with Paris St Germain next month into a shoot-out for top spot in the group.
Here are five things we learned…
1. Sanchez has the best chip since Tiger
Alexis Sanchez has a short game that would tame any golf course. His exquisite scoop to open the scoring was the best chip since Tiger Woods’ famous pitch-and-run at the 2005 US Masters.
2. Safe hands Ospina
If he was a liability when deputising for Petr Cech in Europe 12 months ago, David Ospina was alert and decisive when called into action here.
3. Theo is the finishing article
He has hit a purple patch of form for the Gunners of late, and Theo Walcott’s outstanding finish to make it 2-0 was whipped like a rented mule.
4. Know your Bulgarian history
Steeped in history, going all the way back to their formation in 2001, Ludogorets come from Razgrad, in the north-east of Bulgaria – but don’t go there in a fortnight. The return leg is in Sofia.
5. One hundred and plenty
Among Arsene Wenger’s century of wins in Europe with Arsenal’s great entertainers, few have been such open, rip-roaring joyrides – at both ends of the pitch – as this.