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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Wonderful Welbeck hat-trick as Szczesny sees red

Danny Welbeck plundered a hat-trick as Arsenal got their Champions League campaign up and running with a 4-1 victory over Galatasaray at the Emirates Stadium, where play was halted in the first half after the Turkish away supporters threw flares onto the pitch.

With England boss Roy Hodgson watching from the stands, Welbeck, the £16million deadline day signing from Manchester United, produced a clinical display to put the Gunners back on course for qualification from Group D and mark manager Arsene Wenger's 18th anniversary in style.

However, governing body UEFA are likely to launch an investigation into the unsavoury scenes 20 minutes into the match which saw play halted after several flares were jettisoned from the away end, with Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and captain Wesley Sneijder helping restore calm as riot Police surrounded the perimeter fences.

After a positive start and then surviving a couple of dangerous counter-attacks, Arsenal swept into the lead on 22 minutes when Welbeck converted a inch-perfect pass from Alexis Sanchez.

Welbeck doubled Arsenal's lead on the half hour with another neat finish, this time latching onto a back header before running clear to beat the keeper.

Galatasaray fans then let off several flares and threw them onto the pitch which saw the game halted for several minutes, and could lead to disciplinary action from UEFA once all of the reports are gathered.

Sanchez - who had earlier been felled by a two-footed lunge from defender Felipe Melo, which was only punished by a yellow card - slid home a third goal just before the break.

The Chilean, a £32million summer signing from Real Madrid, showed no ill effects of Melo's brutal challenge as he collected Ozil's pass which split the defence to slot in his fifth goal of the season on 41 minutes.

Welbeck completed his hat-trick on 52 minutes, clipping his shot over the keeper before taking in the adulation of the North Bank.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pole axed Burak Yilmaz, who converted the resulting penalty.

Colombian David Ospina made a couple of smart saves during the closing stages, and in stoppage time, Cazorla's chip was cleared in front of the line by Semih Kaya.

Arsenal will now head to Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday in confident mood.

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