Arsenal vs Basel Match Review

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Following a slip-up from the French champions PSG against Ludogorets, Arsene Wenger’s Gunners secured a top spot in their group and a potentially favorable draw in the last-16.

There were six changes to the team though, with Rob Holding handed his Champions League debut and David Ospina, Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Iwobi and Lucas all returning. Granit Xhaka started against his former club, lining up against his older brother Taulent.

Basel had plenty to play for but, frankly, they couldn’t live with the Gunners in the first half. The passing was crisp, the movement was clever, the work rate was high – everything just clicked.

The first goal was a classic.

Alexis and Ozil’s slick interchange in the middle of the park left the Chilean in space 20 yards out. He clipped the ball over the last defender into the path of Gibbs, who had the composure and presence of mind to pick out Lucas at the back post. He committed the defender and nonchalantly lifted the ball into the net. Lucas’ hat trick made him the sixth man to score a treble for Arsenal in the Champions League, with Kieran Gibbs playing a leading role in his goals.

Ozil cut Basel apart with an exquisite through-ball and Gibbs, again in an advanced position, took aim. Tomas Vaclik did well to parry, but Lucas was on hand to score his second from close range, giving Arsenal their second goal in the first half.

Basel almost made a comeback when Adama Traore made a fizzing low drive that had Ospina beaten but flew inches wide. Ospina was called into action before the break though, plunging to his right to keep out Renato Steffen’s shot and recovering to beat Marc Janko to the rebound.

Basel started out strong in the second half but succumbed to a third goal when Gibbs advanced on the left and played a ball into Alexis with plenty of force. He diverted it into the path of Lucas and the striker found the bottom corner. Things didn’t get any better for Basel when Alexis curved the ball into Ozil’s path and the German unselfishly passed across the goal for Iwobi to tap in.

Doumbia however bulldozed his way through to beat Ospina and net the first goal for Basel in the final minutes.

Arsène Wenger has marked his 200th European game at the helm by overseeing an unbeaten group stage for the first time since 2005/06.