Arsenal 2 FC Basel
Walcott 7, 26

Arsenal got their Champions League Group A campaign back up and running, with what turned out to be a somewhat routine win over FC Basel at the Emirates stadium on Wednesday evening. A scrappy point in Paris against PSG was followed by a rolling of the Swiss side with Theo Walcott’s first half brace doing the damage. The Gunners were classy in attack and organised in defence, and that spoke volumes for this Arsenal side who if they continue in this rich vein of form will threaten to do something very memorable – and on all fronts come May. Basel were spirited but David Ospina barely had much to do and that was especially in credit to the defence in front of him.

We barely had time to draw breath from a slick move involving Alex Iwobi, Alexis and Nacho Monreal when the Spain defender saw Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik push his shot away, then the Gunners took the lead just moments later.

Santi Cazorla tided up deep in his own half and spotted Alexis out wide on the left. The Arsenal number 7 raced away to cross, for Walcott to cushion his header past Vaclik for the opener after seven minutes. Arsene Wenger’s men were up for more than just a European battle, this was classy and personal.

Marek Suchy the Basel skipper was seeing his side turned inside out, and he too was about to. Alexis turned Suchy, was strong to hold up ball and then put in Ozil, but the German was ruled offside in attack.

Alexis then robbed Suchy, on the half way line and the Basel player esperately tried to hold the Chile striker. Suchy got a yellow card for his troubles.

However Arsenal’s dominating football soon had further reward after 26 minutes.

Walcott’s drilled his pass to Alexis, and took the return. With Vaclik in his sights, the England striker took a look, then took his time before unleashing a low drive past the Basel keeper to double his and Arsenal’s lead.

Desperate defending in the Swiss side’s ranks and Eder Balanta was fortunate not to concede a penalty as he appeared to scythe through Walcott.

Now Walcott and Bellerin combined to race away on the right. Walcott picked out Cazorla who rather that shoot, slid the ball out Alexis to his left. Alexis had to score with a deft shot which was destined for Vaclik’s net until his outstretched arm diverted the ball for a corner.

Vaclik was getting through a lot of work and denied Walcott and Bellerin as Arsenal raced through the gears. Ozil struck wide when in on Vaclik, and he and Suchy kept the Gunners from registering more goals.

Just before the break, Alexis put in a searching cross which Ozil caught on the left, but hit into the side netting.

Koscielny and Mustafi were in tough defending mode and the former put in an excellent tackle to deny Doumbia to win possession as Basel threatened.

Arsenal went about adding to their lead after the break and saw Walcott strike wide when well paced on the right.

Just before the hour mark, Iwobi surged and as the Swiss defence backed off ,the Arsenal number 17 fired low but just wide of Vaclik’s upright.

Just to remind us they were ambitious and in the game, Bjarnason saw Ospina tip his dipping effort over the bar, and the same player struck high and wide when Ospina didn’t connect properly to clear from a corner.

With two assists to his name, Alexis should have gotten on the score sheet himself after 67 minutes. Walcott found him from the byeline, cut back with pinpoint precision but Alexis hit his effort wide when it seemed easier to score.

A minute later and Koscileny’s excellently timed tackle to denied Bjarnason as Basel momentarily threatened.

With 20 minutes remaining Iwobi came off for Mohamed Elneny and after his two goal strikes, Walcott made way for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Oxlade-Chamberlain raced onto a late gilt edged chance which although he had the pace to roubd Vaclik, saw the keeper recover with his leg to block , and then Alexis again was thwarted by Vaclik late on.

By that late stage of the game, Arsenal were home and hosed and perhaps had been since Walcott’s first half brace. Yet they were thorough and focused enough to continue to create and also to keep another clean sheet.