It was yet another satisfying performance from our boys on Wednesday night. We completely outplayed the Swiss champions in the 2-0, and it was only our poor finishing and a superb performance from Basel’s goalkeeper which kept the scoreline that way.
Our first-half performance last night eclipsed the first-half from the Chelsea game, and it was really entertaining to see the pace with which our attacking players were moving the ball.
In past couple of weeks, this team has displayed the attacking fluidity which had been missing from our game in recent seasons.
Here are five things we learned from the game
1) Return of Wengerball
We have been famous for our brand attacking play under Arsene Wenger. However, in past few seasons, we had kind of lost our identity. On times, we have struggled to move the ball quick enough, and that has made defending against us easy for the opponents.
But, in our last few games, we have looked proactive and have taken the game to the opponents. The players are working hard, and we look comfortable in possession. The pace at which we have been attacking in recent games is also a really good indicator.
2) Walcott’s form hasn’t been a fluke
Theo Walcott’s return to form hasn’t proved to be a fluke – until now. The 27-year-old has looked hungry and rejuvenated this season. He scored nine goals for us last season, and most of them came in the first half of the season. However, he has already scored five goals in all competitions this season. He has also improved the defensive aspect of his game massively this season
Following the game against Basel, Arsene Wenger talked about Walcott’s resurgence: “It is not the chat which makes you score goals. He assessed where he stands and then rectified what he had to add to his game. That’s down to him, 95 percent down to him.
3) Alexis Sanchez is finally clicking in the striker role
Following a few disappointing outings as a striker, the Chilean has shown really encouraging signs in recent weeks.
He was superb against Chelsea and should have scored at least a couple against Basel last night. He has managed five goals already this season, and it appears that Wenger will keep playing him in the striker role at least for now.
4) Shkodran Mustafi
If early signs are any indicators, then it appears that we have found a real gem in Mustafi. The German has slotted in seamlessly along with Laurent Koscielny in the centre of our defence, and their centre-back partnership has looked really assured in recent games.
5) Granit Xhaka impressed again
Granit Xhaka was given a start last night in the absence of injured Francis Coquelin. The Swiss international didn’t disappoint and staked his claim for a place in the starting eleven by dominating the game in the midfield.