Champions League

Walcott brace guides Arsenal to easy win

2016-09-28 22:50
Theo Walcott (AP)

London - Theo Walcott's first-half goals and Alexis Sanchez's boundless energy helped Arsenal to a straightforward 2-0 win over Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Walcott opened the scoring in the seventh minute when a long ball over the top found Sanchez, who ran down the left before crossing into the box. An unmarked Walcott darted behind the defence to power a header beyond the reach of Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

Walcott's second goal came from a clinical one-two with Sanchez, whose back was to goal when he released the England international with a flicked pass. Walcott rifled home the return ball off the post in the 26th.

The result leaves Arsenal fighting for top of Group A with Paris Saint Germain. Both teams have four points after two matches.

Arsenal found cracks in Basel's defence throughout the match at Emirates Stadium, and the home side could have easily had a half-dozen goals by the break — if not for wayward finishing and some excellent saves from Vaclik.

Much of Arsenal's dazzling play came from Sanchez's vision and industry, with the forward's pace and trickery too much for Basel to handle at times, with his link-up play with Walcott paying dividends.

The visitors came back into the match for brief spells in the second half, most notably when midfielder Birkir Bjarnason smashed a shot that forced Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina to palm the ball over the crossbar.

Arsenal was forced to wear its yellow-and-blue away kit at Emirates Stadium after UEFA said that both of Basel's strips would clash with the home team's red-and-white colours.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka faced his older brother Taulant Xhaka for the time since the siblings lined up against each other at the European Championship in June — Granit for Switzerland and Taulant for Albania.



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