Welbeck runs riot in Arsenal drubbing of Galatasaray
Danny Welbeck tore Galatasaray apart on Wednesday night at the Emirates, hitting a sublime hat-trick to put Arsenal back in contention for qualification.
Cesare Prandelli’s side started badly, worsened and then disintegrated altogether in the face of a ferocious performance from the Gunners.
Wojceich Szczesny’s second half dismissal brought a Turkish goal and a fightback of sorts, but Arsenal held out to win 4-1.
The Gunners had started the brightest of the two teams, but found the going hard initially, losing themselves in Galatasaray’s back three.
But, with the exception of a half chance drilled wide by Alex Telles after ten minutes, their opponents posed little threat. And when Arsenal broke, they broke with devastating pace.
After 22 minutes, Kieran Gibbs drove forwards, he found Alexis Sanchez who slipped the ball to Danny Welbeck. So often criticised for his lack of composure, the Englishman quickly tucked the ball away.
All of a sudden, the Turkish giants looked very shaky at the back.
Almost as if he felt one demonstration of his cool head wasn’t enough, Welbeck offered another example eight minutes later.
Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck (2nd R) celebrates scoring his second goal. Photo AFP
Fending off the not inconsiderable physical threat of Felipe Melo, he powered into the box and beat Fernando Muslera again, sliding the ball calmly into the bottom corner.
While Welbeck was displaying his cool head, Galatasaray’s went completely, on and off the pitch.
First Melo launched himself two footed into Alexis Sanchez, somehow only earning a yellow card from referee Gianluca Rocchi.
Then the away fans erupted as one, hurling lit flares onto the pitch, causing the game to be held up.
When play was restored, their defence went to sleep and Sanchez was allowed to steal in and score a third. And all before half time.
The second half brought the completion of Welbeck’s hat-trick with a neat finish from close range, but no respite until Szczesny’s red card and Burak Yilmaz’s penalty.
A series of David Ospina saves kept the Turks at bay.
Arsenal were out of sight.