Wenger praises Welbeck after Champions League hat-trick

The Arsenal manager celebrated his 18th anniversary in charge of the north Londoners in style with a 4-1 win over Galatasaray delivered in large part by the youngster’s goals

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to Danny Welbeck after the striker scored a hat-trick to make the Frenchman’s 18th anniversary in charge of the club a night to remember.

Welbeck netted his first career hat-trick as the Premier League side ran out dominant 4-1 winners over Galatasaray in the Champions League clash.

In the Gunners’ opening 2-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund, the €20 million man was guilty of missing a pair of clear chances, but he more than made amends on Wednesday with a hat-trick while the impressive Alexis Sanchez also got his name on the scoresheet.

Alexis made a crucial mark by giving away possession in the move that saw Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off for a professional foul on Burak Yilmaz, who converted the 63rd-minute penalty, but there remained plenty of positives for Wenger to focus on, not least Welbeck’s stellar display.

“He had a great performance,” the manager enthused to Sky Sports. “He added that instinct of a goalscorer, was more aggressive and made great runs.

“He finished the work of the team well. Overall the team played well until we were down to 10 men – then you could see how quickly you can lose control of a game – but the overall performance was still great.

“He has such good pace that it gives him time to finish calmly. Once a player understands that, their finishing soon improves a lot.”

Alexis was central to the pace and directness that tore Galatasaray apart and Wenger praised the former Barcelona forward’s best performance in an Arsenal shirt despite his later error – a final contribution before making way for substitute goalkeeper David Ospina.

“He played well, made some good passes apart from the goal we conceded,” the veteran boss observed, “but, before that, I thought he had a very good performance.”

Wenger refused to criticise Szczesny – the Poland international also received his marching orders in last season’s second-round defeat to Bayern Munich – but saw the incident as a lesson for his team to guard against complacency.

“It’s difficult for [Szczesny],” he added. “It’s a fraction of a second. He has to come out and makes a penalty. When you lose the ball in your own half like we did those kind of things can happen.

“That’s the problem in the Champions League – the opponent never gives up and you can only keep consistent domination of the game if you keep your concentration. We just relaxed a little bit with the fourth goal.”

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