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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

UEFA Champions League: Theo Walcott brace helps Arsenal beat Basel 2-0

Theo Walcott twice combined brilliantly with Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal overwhelmed Basel to stretch their unbeaten run.

By: Reuters | London | Published: September 29, 2016 10:58:04 am
champions league, champions league results, arsenal vs basel, basel vs arsenal, wallcott, football news, football Arsenal’s Theo Walcott scored both goals in his team’s 2-0 win over Basel. (Source: Reuters)

Theo Walcottt scored twice before halftime as Arsenal beat FC Basel 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium to move joint top of Champions League Group A on Wednesday.

The England forward twice combined brilliantly with Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal overwhelmed the Swiss to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches.

Arsenal needed only six minutes to open the scoring when Walcott headed in a Sanchez cross and a superb one-two 20 minutes later with the south American saw him double the lead.

Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik kept his side in the hunt with a series of fine stops and although Basel offered more threat after the break the damage was already done.

Arsenal were brimming with confidence from the start on the back of a 3-0 defeat of Chelsea at the weekend while Basel had won 11 of their 12 matches this season.

But there was only one team in it before halftime.

Nacho Monreal had already tested Vaclik in the opening skirmishes before Sanchez unlocked the Swiss defence with a deft cross that Walcott planted into the corner.

The visitors manfully tried to stem the tide but their backline were reduced to statues in the 26th minute when Sanchez linked with Walcott who guided a right-foot shot into the net.

Arsene Wenger’s side attacked in waves and the overworked Vaclik denied Sanchez with an outstretched arm after he had been played through by a cunning pass from Mesut Ozil.

Hector Bellerin and Sanchez could have put the game to bed before halftime but Basel reached the sanctity of the dressing room with no further damage.

They even threatened a couple of times after the break with Birkir Bjarnason, one of Iceland Euro 2016 heroes, curling a shot that Arsenal keeper David Ospina clawed over the bar.

Bjarnason then scooped a chance over from the resulting corner as Arsenal briefly lost their impetus.

Basel have got the better of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the Champions League but there was to be no repeat this time as Arsenal moved to four points, level with Paris St Germain.

Basel and Ludogorets, beaten 3-1 by PSG, both have one point.

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