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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Lucas Perez treble as Arsenal dispose of Basel

Arsenal have claimed top spot in Group A of the Champions League after beating FC Basel 4-1 in Switzerland.

Lucas Perez marked his first European start for the Gunners with a hat-trick as Arsene Wenger's men controlled proceedings at St Jakob-Park.

The Spaniard opened the scoring in just the eighth minute when he slotted home from close range after a nice cross from Kieran Gibbs, who had raced onto a lovely through ball from Alexis Sanchez.

The second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first. This time Mesut Ozil found Gibbs and the left-back hit a firm effort at Tomas Vaclik with Perez on hand to slot home the follow-up from close range, doubling his Gunners tally.

Less than two minutes into the second half and Arsenal were home and hosed when summer signing Perez clinically fired home with his right foot after Gibbs' ball had squeezed beyond Sanchez and into his path.

To wrap it up, Sanchez found Ozil near the byline which saw the German cut back neatly for Alex Iwobi to tap home on 53 minutes.

Basel were able to pull back a consolation goal through second-half substitute Seydou Doumbia, who played a clever one-two with Marc Janko, which included a deft spin, and then finished in a composed nature past David Ospina with just over 10 minutes remaining.

It was the first time Arsenal have gone unbeaten in a Champions League group stage in 11 years and they were lucky enough to clinch first place in their group after Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets Razgrad held PSG to a 2-2 draw in Paris.

However, in true Arsenal manner, it may be the season where finishing first or second doesn't matter as there is a chance they could still draw Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.

The confidence that will come from beating PSG to top spot, though, may spur on the Gunners who have lost just twice in 22 matches in all competitions this season.


2016/17 UEFA Champions League - Group A

FC Basel (SUI): 1 (Seydou Doumbia 78')
Arsenal (ENG): 4 (Lucas Perez 8'/16'/47', Alex Iwobi 53')
St Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland - 36,000

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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