Champions League

Basel 1 Arsenal 4: Arsenal finish top

For the first time since the 2011-12 season, Arsenal finish top of their group.

A hat-trick from Lucas Perez, plus one from Alex Iwobi saw Arsene Wengers side on their way to finish top of the pile, coupled with Ludogorets drawing 2-2 with PSG.

The first half saw Lucas Perez score a double brace, both being assisted by Kieran Gibbs.

The second half saw Perez score a third, and was yet again assisted by Gibbs, then Iwobi had a say in proceedings by netting a fourth, via a brilliant pass from Alexis Sanchez. Speaking of Sanchez, he and Mesut Özils linking up was a joy to watch. If I could write about it, then I would.

The only downside was conceding, which Rob Holding, was at fault for. But we can all forgive him, right? Laurent Koscienly was also turned, and couldn’t stop Seydou Doumbia from scoring nothing more than a consolation.
On the other side of the wall, Ludogorets were also playing their part in helping Arsenal secure top spot by drawing in Paris.

If I was to give a Man of the Match to any player it would have to be shared between Gibbs (for his assists), and Perez (purely for his goals, and getting into the positions to score).

Perez starting, and scoring a hat-trick no less after a lengthy time off through injury, rang music to my ears. He and Gibbs combining was a heroic double act. Gibbs himself has been short of starting chances, after only starting once in the league this season, proved Wenger why he should be starting more often. Does he deserve more starts?

Overall, I’m very happy with the performance, not a lot to criticise, to be honest.

Ahead of both games, I thought the only thing Arsenal can do is win, and forget what was going on elsewhere. I also stated that there was little chance in Ludogorets beating PSG, but low and behold, the Bulgarian outfit did the improbable.

Also, when I looked at the line-up before kick-off, I saw Sanchez start. I was alright with that (not that other Arsenal fans were) but thought that since he was playing a part, he would have to come off at half-time, but I got a bit agitated when he came off later, as with Stoke City, and Everton in mind, Arsenal couldn’t afford another injury, especially in a period when games come thick and fast.

Heading into Mondays draw, Arsenal know that they avoid the likes of Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona, but could still face either Bayern Munich, or Real Madrid (it’s slightly annoying, but to be the best, you have to beat the best).

The last time Arsenal were unbeaten in the group phase, they went all the way to the final, this was in the 2005-06 season. Could this provide to be a good omen? (Or am I just tempting fate)?

With that out of the way, Wengers side entertain Stoke City at the weekend, raring to continue battling for the title.

As for Basel, no Europa League for them, but they can take some pride in the fact that they are still top of their league.
The Swiss outfit were left hapless, as they couldn’t prevent themselves from falling out of European competition altogether.



The Latest

To Top