Theo Walcott’s first half double eases Arsenal to Champions League win
Theo Walcott’s first half double was enough to give Arsenal a 2-0 victory over FC Basel in Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stages at the Emirates Stadoum tonight.
Walcott struck in the 7th and 26th minutes to give the Gunners their first group stage victory in this season’s competition.
It was Walcott’s first Champions League double since October 2007 against Slavia Prague.
He opened the scoring when he headed in a cross from Alexis Sanchez. It was Walcott’s first headed goal in the competition. Santi Cazorla had started the move with an excellent long pass to pick out Sanchez and his pin-point cross was played in perfectly for Walcott to head home.
The same two players combined again for the second goal, with Walcott firing the ball low into the net off the post after playing a one-two with Sanchez.
It took Walcott’s goal tally for the season to five in seven Arsenal appearances this season.
Alexis Sanchez has now had a hand in 11 of Arsenal’s last 16 Champions League goals (four goals, seven assists).
Arsenal produced some wonderful approach play throughout the match to open up FC Basel’s high line defensive formation.
The visitors will be grateful that the Gunners weren’t clinical in front of goal or the scoreline could have been far worse for them. The Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik also produced a number of excellent saves.
Basel rarely threatened in the first half, but improved as an attacking force in the second half.
Birkir Bjarnason had a long-range effort tipped over by David Ospina, and the Arsenal keeper also kept out an effort from Andraz Sporar late on.
The win moves Arsenal onto four points in the Group A table.
They are level on points with Paris Saint-Germain who beat Ludogorets 3-1 in Bulgaria tonight.
Pimienta Natanael opened the scoring for the home side in the 16th minute. But goals from Blaise Matuidi (41) and an Edinson Cavani double (56, 60) were enough to earn all three points for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Gunners will face Ludogorets in Matchday 3 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday 19th October.
Arsenal: Ospina 6, Bellerin 7, Mustafi 7, Koscielny 7, Monreal 7 (Gibbs), Cazorla 7, Xhaka 7, Ozil 6, Iwobi 7 (Elneny), Walcott 8 (Oxlade-Chamberlain), Sanchez 7