The Gunners found themselves two goals behind in the opening 15 minutes in
Sofia, but goals from Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud had them level at the
The second half did not produce as much entertainment until Ozil was played
in by substitute Mohamed Elneny with three minutes remaining and showed great
composure to slot home and secure a 3-2 victory.
With group A rivals Paris St Germain winning in Basle, the pair are already
assured of qualification to the knockout stages – with their meeting at the
Emirates Stadium later this month now essentially a play-off for top spot.
Wenger, who said on the eve of the game that topping the group is a "prime
target" for Arsenal, said Ozil's winner showed just how good he is.
black "I would say great players make the right decisions in the
game situations they face," Wenger said of the man who scored a hat-trick in a
6-0 home win over Ludogorets a fortnight ago.
"They take the optimum solution. To me, it didn't look like the optimum
solution. You wanted him to take the chance earlier. But he had enough skill to
prove he was right.
"When the ball was in the back of the net, it was clear it had been the
Wenger has spoken plenty this season about a new maturity among his squad,
which remains unbeaten since Liverpool triumphed at the Emirates on the opening
weekend of the campaign.
With a north London derby at home to Tottenham on Sunday, the Frenchman once
again enthused about his players' approach.
soccer shoes "I give credit to the team spirit for that," he said
when asked if their character had been tested.
legend white "You get belief with positive results, and this shows
a healthy mentality in the group. The two together come out in these kind of
"We were caught cold and were 2-0 down. After that, I felt we kept our
composure, didn't panic and came slowly back. It was good to be 2-2 at
"We dropped a bit physically in the second half, but continued to dominate
even if we were exposed to counter-attacks."
It is now 17 years of getting into the last 16, albeit that has been as far
as they have gone in the past six seasons, and Wenger is aiming to push on
deeper into the competition this time.
"I believe that the most difficult thing in life is to be consistent at the
top level," he added.
"So it shows we have been quite consistent there. That we could do it again
this year… hopefully we can go further now.
"We have a game at home where we can finish top of the group. Let's maintain
the quality of our results until the game against Paris St Germain. We are in
position to finish top of the group."
X 16.1 sliver
fg Ludogorets, who raced ahead courtesy of goals from Jonathan Cafu
and Claudiu Keseru, will now be fighting it out with Basel to finish third and
qualify for the Europa League, with manager Georgi Dermendzhiev rocked by their
"Of course, we are devastated," he said.
16 purecontrol red "We were so close to get a draw. I think we
played a great game. Arsenal is an excellent side and they punish mistakes.
"We played equal to them and that is a great boost for us. We are
disappointed, but also proud."