Walcott brace inspires Gunners to victory

A first-half brace from Theo Walcott gave Arsenal their first victory in the Champions League group stages at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

  • Arsenal 2 Basel 0
  • Walcott gives hosts early lead
  • England forward scores a second
  • Vaclík kept busy by Gunners
  • Wenger's side record first win

Match Summary

Walcott got the Gunners off to a flying start when he opened the scoring after just seven minutes, heading in a cross from Alexis Sanchez.

The duo combined again on 26 minutes as the England forward netted his fourth goal in three games to put Arsene Wenger's side firmly in control.

The RotBlau created very few chances, although David Ospina made a couple of saves to ensure the hosts would keep a clean sheet.

Full Report

The Gunners made a fast start in the English capital as Nacho Monreal forced Tomas Vaclík into a save in the seventh minute with his shot from inside the area before they took the lead moments later.

Alexis Sanchez picked out Walcott with a cross at the back post and the forward headed home from close range to open the scoring.

The hosts would control the game for the remainder of the first half, although Basel did threaten on the quarter-hour mark when Marek Suchy headed wide a corner from Luca Zuffi.

Walcott went close again midway through the first half with a shot that missed to the left of the target following a corner, but he found the back of the net just four minutes later to continue his fine goal-scoring form.

It was the same combination again as Sanchez played Walcott through on goal and the England international beat Vaclík from inside the box to make it 2-0.

Vaclík was kept busy in the closing stages of the first half as he denied Sanchez on two occasions and saved an effort from Hector Bellerin, while Mesut Ozil two missed chances from inside the 18-yard area.

Good work! We lead 2-0 at half-time #AFCvBAS #Arsenal #Gunners

A photo posted by Arsenal Official (@arsenal) on

The swift counter-attack from the home team on 57 minutes saw Ozil send Alex Iwobi through on goal, but the Nigerian failed to hit the target from inside the box.

Ospina was finally tested on 63 minutes by Birkir Bjarnason, who drew a save out of the keeper with his strike from distance before the Iceland international fired just wide of the mark from close range after Suchy had headed a corner into his path.

Andraz Sporar then tried his luck from inside the area on the right, but his 66th-minute shot went wide of the near post, while at the other end Sanchez pulled an effort wide and Monreal blazed over following a corner in the 74th minute.

Sporar almost halved the deficit at the death after he was played in on the right by Mohammed Elyounoussi, but his strike from an acute angle was kept out by Ospina.

The final action saw Shkodran Mustafi head wide a corner from Ozil before Sanchez was again denied by Vaclík from just six yards out.

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