A comfortable 4-1 victory over Basel means Arsenal beat PSG to the top of our Champions League group table but what else did we learn?
A hat-trick from Lucas Perez and neat goal from Alex Iwobi means that Arsenal finish top of the group on a high after PSG drew 2-2 with Ludogorets.
The win doesn’t just mean that we’ve topped the group but that confidence going into our clash against Stoke at the weekend should be high.
But what else did we learn?
Lucas Perez is decent
The former Deportivo striker hasn’t had the best start to his Arsenal career. Firstly, he struggled to get game time, then, when he did, he picked up an ankle injury. He returned to his former club in Spain to recover and it seems he’s returned in fine form.
The 28-year-old made a rare start for Arsenal against Basel and within the first quarter of an hour he’d scored a brace.
Both goals weren’t complete worldies. However, he was in the right place at the right time and, more importantly, finished well.
The forward went on to complete his Champions League hat-trick at the start of the second half.
Although he won’t be challenging Alexis Sanchez or Olivier Giroud as first or even second choice striker any time soon, he’s a great option off the bench or down the wing if needed.
Kieran Gibbs also deserves an honourable mention since he assisted all three goals for Lucas’ hat-trick.
Dave is a good shot-stopper
Dave Ospina may not be anywhere near Petr Cech’s level, or Wojciech Szczesny’s for that matter. He may also sometimes look as if he’s got lost or as if he’s never handled a football before. BUT he is a decent shot-stopped.
Just after Arsenal went 1-0 ahead against Basel, the home team ran up the other end and could have very easily scored from a header from close range. Fortunately, Dave lept into action, keeping Arsenal ahead. Well, he did, as did the linesman who saw the goal was offside…but still.
Although Basel weren’t exactly giving as good as they got, they did have their chances and all but one he kept out.
Xhaka is really quite good
‘New’ boy, Granit Xhaka, continued to be an absolute legend in midfield. Not only was he accurate, except for the odd pass, he was progressive, creative and strong.
It’s still unclear whether Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey is going to be Arsene Wenger’s first choice midfield pairing anytime soon. They did well but since this was a slightly weakened team, we don’t know whether we’ll see them lining up against Stoke at the weekend.
However, what is clear is that the Switzerland international is an excellent option and hopefully he’ll be rewarded with more game time as he gets used to the rigors of the Premier League.
Xhaka's first half:
✔ Most passes (51/55)
✔ Most recoveries (8)
✔ Most successful tackles (3/3)
✔ Most interceptions (2) pic.twitter.com/nPuQym5lR7
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) December 6, 2016
Pundits don’t actually pay attention to Arsenal
For years, Arsenal fans have had to deal with pundits who aren’t associated with the club farting out all sorts of bizarre cliches that heavily suggest they don’t actually pay any attention to our team or how we’re playing.
Tuesday night was no different when Rio Ferdinand admitted he’d been questioning where Lucas Perez had been over the past few weeks. Of course, anyone who is getting paid to know precisely what’s going on with clubs’ players should know that he’s been injured.
You know, the ankle injury he sustained playing against Reading in the EFL Cup?
“I’ve been asking ‘where is Perez?’ for a few weeks. He’s turned up today” Rio Ferdinand. HE WAS INJURED YOU PLANK!
— Lee Hurley (@HLeeHurley) December 6, 2016
Yeah, THAT’S where he’s been, Rio.
Arsenal don’t ALWAYS bottle stuff
We’ve grown accustomed to Arsenal bottling games when a win should have been on the cards. We’ve seen them underestimate opposition or play as if they’ve been up all night. However, this was not one of those occasions.
The Gunners played well. Even the players who don’t often get first team game time, like Rob Holding. Everyone pulled their weight and, even when we were a couple of goals to the good and cruising, we continued to push until we’d put the game to bed.
This is the type of winning mentality we’ve been hoping for and it’s paid off. We finish above PSG, top of the group.
Hopefully, this win can boost us to continue and we won’t get too terrible a draw in the next round.