FC Basel 1 Arsenal 4
Doumbia 78, Perez 8,16,47, Iwobi 53

Lucas Perez netted a memorable Champions League hat-trick to help Arsenal thrash FC Basel. The £17 million striker grabbed his first two goals in 16 first half minutes and completed his treble two minutes after the re-start. Alex Iwobi added gloss to the scoreline with Seydou Doumbia getting a consolation for the Swiss side. The win, coupled with Paris Saint-Germain being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Ludogorets means that the Gunners win Group A, their first group win for 12 years. They remain unbeaten throughout the group campaign, and the last time that happened, Arsenal went on to reach the 2005 Champions League final in Paris. Arsene Wenger will hope to not only emulate that fete, but to go one better this time around.

Of Perez’ treble, Wenger said, “I think Perez took advantage of the fact we created good chances – he is a goalscorer you know. He has shown tonight he has a good smell for the goal.”

With his treble, Perez became the sixth Arsenal player to have accomplished that achievement, joining Mesut Özil, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Thierry Henry and Nicklas Bendtner.

By winning the group, Arsenal know they will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Monaco, who have knocked them out in the past two seasons respectively, as well as Atletico Madrid and Napoli in Monday’s draw.

However, with Bayern Munich, their conquerors in 2013 and 2014, or one of Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid finishing in the runners up spot, the Gunners could see them not gain what would be seen as an immediate benefit from finishing top of Group A.

Wenger would certainly look for perhaps a more favourable outcome from Monday’s draw with perhaps a better pairing being against Benfica, Bayer Leverkusen or one of Porto or FC Copenhagen. We shall wait and see.

The Gunners didn’t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet at St. Jakob-Park. A strong starting eleven with Alexis Sanchez up front with Ozil behind him. Either side of the German, Iwobi and Perez. Rob Holding partnered Laurent Koscielny in defence, with Kieran Gibbs on the left and Gabriel at right back once again. Granit Xhaka came up against his former side and his older brother Taulent for the third time this year.

Perez was initially the beneficiary of two tap in goals. Firstly, Alexis found Gibbs for the defender to cross and enable Perez to slot home after eight minutes. A further eight minutes had elapsed and Perez was at it again.

Ozil cut through Basel with an exquisite through-ball. Gibbs was again in an advanced position and took aim. Tomas Vaclik did well to parry, but with the instincts of a poacher, Lucas was on hand to score his second from close range.

The Swiss champions tried to respond but the Gunners were intent on holding firm. Although Matias Delgado forced a fine save from David Ospina as Basel threatened, the off side flag has been raised well before the loose ball was tucked away.

Adama Traore almost got Basel back in the game with a fizzing low drive which appeared to have Ospina beaten but flew inches wide.

2-0 in the ascendency, and Lucas wasn’t going to be denied his Arsenal hat-trick. Two minutes after the break, and again Gibbs was at the heart of. He advanced on the left and played a strong ball ball into the path of Alexis. The Chile striker diverted it towards Lucas and the striker found the bottom corner. There was to be a fourth for the Gunners and this will give Iwobi confidence to continue with the form which we witnessed in his earlier games this season.

Janko’s flicked a header didn’t trouble Ospina, as Arsenal followed to strike again. Alexis curved a ball into Ozil’s path and the German’s unselfish pass across goal enabled Iwobi to tap in.

There was still time for an Alexis free kick which crashed against the bar. With 20 minutes remaining, Olivier Giroud replaced the Chilean and Mohamed Elneny replaced Aaron Ramsey to face his former club.

Arsenal had twelve attempts on the Basel goal, with seven of them on target. Perez will long remember his crucial three and the Gunners will be pleased with a good job well done going into the last 16.