UEFA Champions League 2016/17: Basel 1-4 Arsenal - 5 talking points
Over the years, Arsenal have fallen into the bad habit of not topping their group, irrespective of their opponents. And the Gunner faithful wouldn’t have been too upbeat about the Matchday 6 fixture against their Swiss opponents.
The primary reason being that irrespective of their result against the Swiss side, their fate in the group was more reliant on PSG’s ability to slip up against Ludogrets, the whipping boys of the group. But call it fate or luck, the Ligue 1 Champions, slipped against their opponents.
However, on the evening the Gunners it seemed were keen on enjoying themselves. It’s been a long time since the Gunners played without any pressure to win and most of us were surprised when Wenger named Sanchez and Ozil in the starting line-up.
Ultimately, the goal scorers were the main beneficiary because of the duo. Lucas Perez helped himself to a hat-trick while Iwobi capped off an impressive display with a well-taken goal. Seydou Doumbia did pull a goal back for the Swiss side, but that was more of a consolation, as Basel crashed out of Europe altogether.
#1 Lucas Perez shows his worth
Lucas who?? Was the ultimate question back in the summer, when Arsenal signed the Spaniard from Deportivo La Coruna for around £17m. At the time, Wenger explained the decision stating, “He’s not only a goalscorer, he’s a guy who combines well with partners, who can give a final ball and makes good runs.”
While it is still too early to say, that Wenger’s judgement has been vindicated regarding the Spaniard, Perez did leave an impression on his manager and ahead of the hectic Christmas period. The Spaniard proved that he could combine with his other team-mates mainly Ozil and Sanchez as he swept in the goals to ensure there was an end product to all the enterprising play.
FC Basel were obliging opponents and Perez ensured that he made the most of his game-time. His hat-trick was a just reward for the way he conducted himself in the game and his movement of the ball was noteworthy as well. The Spaniard has been patient and injuries have also hampered him from making an impression but on the night his finishing was precise.
Most importantly, his exploiting of spaces led to Iwobi’s goal, as Sanchez picked out Ozil who fizzed a pass across the face of the goal for the arriving Iwobi for a simple tap-in. As per the evidence on display, the Spaniard has the ability to strike a rapport with his team-mates and this is going to be a handy asset as the season progresses.