Champions League: Electric Welbeck sparks Arsenal blitz with classy European treble

Frank Dalleres
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Danny Welbeck scored his first senior hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-1 demolition of Galatasaray

IMPRESSED Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed “electric” Danny Welbeck last night after the £16m striker conjured a dazzling hat-trick to get the Gunners’ Champions League campaign back on track.

Welbeck’s first career treble and Alexis Sanchez’s fifth goal of the season left Galatasaray reeling until Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny’s red card prompted a belated response from the visitors.

A nonetheless resounding victory lifted the 10 men to second in Group D and proved an ideal present on the 18th anniversary of his appointment for Wenger, who admitted he had been taken aback by Welbeck’s pace.

“I didn’t know he was so quick -- honestly -- I knew he was quick but he can be electric,” said Wenger. “He is technically clean, a good passer of the ball. His link play is good as well, his teamwork; his workrate is at the level of the team. We had good pace in our game, our transition and finishing were good, and Danny was at the end of good collective movements.”

Wenger started £87m attacking trio Welbeck, Sanchez and Mesut Ozil together for only the third time in a gung-ho selection.

It paid off in the 22nd minute when Sanchez began the torment of Aurelien Chedjou and Felipe Melo, cutting inside the first and teasing a through-ball inside the latter from which Welbeck prodded past Fernando Muslera.

The Galatasaray pair were exposed again eight minutes later when Welbeck seized on Chedjou's careless backward header, held off Melo and slotted low into the far corner in a style not unlike record-breaking predecessor Thierry Henry.

Chedjou was beaten again on 41 minutes, this time by Sanchez, who scurried onto Ozil's pass and cut inside before stroking past Muslera.

Seven minutes after half-time Welbeck dinked his third from an Alex Oxlade Chamberlain pass that nutmegged wing-back Alex Telles.

Galatasaray grabbed a lifeline when Szczesny arrived fractionally late to pinch Pandev’s through-ball and Burak Yilmaz sent David Ospina the wrong way from the spot.