Perez Knocks Wenger’s Door With A Hattrick – 5 Important Talking Points From Arsenal’s 4-1 Win Over Basel

Arsenal forward Lucas Perez (L) scored a hat-trick for Arsenal

Arsenal ran home easy 4-1 winners against FC Basel in their final group fixture of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League.

A hat-trick from Spanish striker Lucas Perez, followed by an Alex Iwobi strike meant Arsenal won the game with relative ease and with Paris Saint-Germain dropping points against Ludogorets, the Gunners ended on the top of the group standings with 14 points.

In a game where Arsene Wenger’s men exercised complete control over their Swiss opponents, we take a look at five noteworthy happenings from the night:

Lucas Perez stakes claims for regular involvement

Having signed from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer, Lucas Perez has been sparingly used by Arsene Wenger. He had been on a decent run when an unfortunate ankle injury meant he had to sit on the sidelines for quite some time. And he has had to wait for his chance for a while now, with Alexis firing on all cylinders and Giroud performing well from the bench.

But he finally got his chance against FC Basel and the Spaniard made it count. Playing on the right-flank, Perez struck two goals from close range in the first half and then completed his treble with another point-blank finish in the second period. It was a brilliant performance by the former Deportivo man, showing his capabilities and goal-scoring instincts.

With no shortage of talents at Wenger’s disposal, Perez had to make the most of his chance and that he did. Now it is up to Wenger to decide how does he use his summer signing.

Rob Holding –  A great prospect

21-year old Rob Holding made his Champions League debut on Tuesday night against Basel. But one wouldn’t be at fault to think that he belonged at this level.

The calm and composure he brought, the assuredness with which he played belied his age and experience. He was solid at the back for almost the entire game, except for that one mistake which led to Basel’s goal in the 78th minute of the match.

But the ease with which he slotted into the backline and his performance surely make him a great prospect for the Gunners.

Granit Xhaka showing his class

There has been a lot said about Wenger’s under-usage of Granit Xhaka over the past month, but the Swiss international has been getting a run in the side in recent weeks and boy has he impressed!

He was brilliant again, going up against his former team, breaking up play with nonchalance, picking out his teammates with surgical precision. He kept it ticking for Arsenal in the centre of the park attempting 111 passes on the night, out of which 104 reached the desired mark. Along with that, he also made 4 important interceptions and 3 clearances at St. Jakob’s Park.

Another excellent display by the 24-year old. Are you watching Arsene?

Kieran Gibbs runs FC Basel defence ragged

Arsenal's Perez celebrates after scoring a goal

Kieran Gibbs is another player who has had it tough to break into the playing XI, despite impressing in the few chances he has got. And he did the same on Tuesday as well, bombarding the left-flank with powerful runs from the back. Always provided an outlet for his teammates to pick out which they promptly did and he made the most of it, setting up Lucas Perez’s all the three goals.

He had an absolutely outstanding game at left-back and he showed again that he is up for it and ready to challenge Nacho Monreal for a regular spot in the Gunners’ backline.

Arsenal need to resolve contract issues with Sanchez and Ozil

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have become the lynchpins of the Arsenal attack over the past season and it seems like they have taken it up a notch this term. And they were at it against Basel on Tuesday, as they posed plenty of questions for the opposition’s defenders.

Alexis, may not have gotten on the scoresheet but was a constant menace with his intelligent movement and his ability to drop deep and pick out runners, which he did to great effect leading to Arsenal’s first goal as he lobbed a lovely ball into Kieran Gibbs, for the Englishman to tee up Perez.

Ozil too was at his imperious best, spraying the ball around at will for his teammates, creating spaces with extreme ease throughout the night. He picked out Gibbs’ run in the build-up to the second goal and set up the fourth goal for Alex Iwobi.

It is no secret that these two are very critical to Arsenal and that makes it much more imperative that the club resolves the conflicts regarding the extension of their contracts very soon.

Written by Raghavendra Goudar

Mechanical Engineer, avid reader and a football fanatic.

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