Sunday 11 December 2016

Mesut Ozil joins elite company following his Champions League hat-trick

Samuel Lovett

Published 20/10/2016 | 12:46

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring their sixth goal and his hat trick with team mates
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring their sixth goal and his hat trick with team mates

Mesut Ozil has cemented his status as one of Arsenal’s modern greats after becoming the fifth Gunners player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.

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The German scored all three of his goals in the second half of Wednesday's match at the Emirates to fire Arsenal to a 6-0 victory against Ludogorets.

And Ozil now joins an exclusive group of Arsenal players who have bagged a hat-trick in the European competition.

Thierry Henry, Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and even Nicklas Bendtner all achieved the feat throughout their careers at Arsenal.

Henry, Arsenal’s record goalscorer, was the first man to score three goals for the club since the Champions League was revamped in 1992. The Frenchman scored all three goals in the side’s 3-1 victory over Roma in November 2002, and it took another eight years until a fellow-Gunner matched his feat.

Nicklas Bendtner of all people grabbed the club’s second hat-trick, notching three goals to help Arsenal overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to Porto as they recorded a 5-0 victory at home to reach the quarter-finals, while Danny Welbeck registered the third in a 4-1 win over Galatasaray.

One year later, Olivier Giroud fired his way into the history books to clinch Arsenal’s fourth European hat-trick against Olympiakos – and now it’s Ozil’s turn to enjoy the limelight.

Arsenal’s fan could barely contain their excitement following the German’s impressive performance – the 28-year-old also provided an assist for Theo Walcott’s superb first-half striker – and it seems  a small minority of Gunners supporters have asked that the club erect a statue in his honour.

Although manager Arsene Wenger  won’t be as keen on the idea, the Frenchman praised the midfielder in the wake of Wednesday’s victory.

“He looks like he gets the taste to score goals because he goes more in behind [the defence],” Wenger said. “Before he liked only to come to the ball and provide. We want him to be a provider and a scorer. He looks like he is slowly moving to that better balance.”

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