Arsenal Beats FC Basel 2-0: What We Learned From Victory at the Emirates Stadium

Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott at the Emirates Stadium, London, September 28. Walcott scored both Arsenal's goals. Mike Hewitt/Getty

Theo Walcott struck twice past FC Basel in the opening half-hour at the Emirates Stadium to send Arsenal top of group A in the Champions League.

The England forward, positioned wide right with Alexis Sanchez leading the line for Arsene Wenger's side, took his scoring tally to four goals in three games.

Arsenal struggled to rediscover the scintillating form of the first half when the teams appeared from the break, but a small rally from their Swiss visitors was halted.

Here, Newsweek looks at what we learned from the Gunners' third consecutive win:

Wonderful Walcott Discovers Clinical Edge

Linking up with Hector Bellerin, Walcott looked unstoppable down Arsenal's right side. It was where the majority of the Gunner's success came in the opening 45 minutes, and Basel had no answer.

This was one of those nights when Walcott looked invincible. The Emirates faithful purrs when these moments come along, celebrating the qualities of the Englishman playing in their exotic way. Inconsistency has been Walcott's issue in his decade at Arsenal, but his two goals in the first half marked four in three for the striker. At 27 years old, he should be hitting the peak of his career.

While his second goal couldn't have been more archetypal Walcott, the opener was a rare collector's item. Sanchez, racing down the left in the seventh minute, sent an inviting ball into the six-yard box, seeing the oncoming Walcott send his header past Tomas Vaclik in the Basel goal.

Just under 20 minutes later he was celebrating the second. A smart one-two with Sanchez saw Walcott get in behind Adama Traore, before drilling his shot onto the post and in. Two goals and two hands in the air to celebrate.

Walcott was removed midway through the second half, which prevented him from getting the hat-trick, but Arsenal and Wenger will want to see this form continue.

Bellerin Fits the Bill for Barcelona

Incredible pace, slick link-up play and, possibly most importantly, an efficient defender, Bellerin is already becoming one of the most accomplished full-backs in England. Wonderful for Wenger, albeit slightly concerning.

The 21-year-old right-back is already being linked with a move to the Camp Nou. Just as Cesc Fabregas did in 2011, Bellerin could make the switch from London to Catalonia. His style and qualities are capable of fitting seamlessly into Luis Enrique's side.

It is a position the La Liga side has been unable to truly fill since the ageing Dani Alves departed for Juventus.

Gunners Still All Good in Gold

A bizarre situation for the Arsenal players and the club's kit man. Despite being the home side, Arsenal was required to play in its gold and black away kit.

It proved, in the end, to be no bother to the hosts, but just proved to be another kooky rule of UEFA. While Basel's red, blue and black home kit clashes with Arsenal's, the European governing body also deemed the Swiss side's away kit to be an issue due to the Gunners' white sleeves.

Wenger's team appears to be on such a level understanding, it doesn't seem to matter what they wear.

Stand-in Goalkeeper Gives Wenger a Problem

But it's a nice problem, however. While Petr Cech remains Wenger's first-choice in the Premier League, David Ospina has been inserted for cup games, including the Champions League.

Albeit much smaller than his colleague, the Colombian has proved to be an indomitable figure in between the posts. Ospina has seized his opportunity.

While Basel's attempts on his goal were limited, he stood firm when called upon. Just after the hour mark, the ball was pulled back to Birkir Bjarnason on the edge of the box, who whipped a looping effort that Ospina tipped over. The 28-year-old was called into action again moments before the final whistle when he stood firm in a one-on-one with Andraz Sporar to ensure his clean sheet.

What will be troubling for Cech is Ospina's ability on the ball. He proved to be calm and composed, picking out his team-mates even when closed down. This has never been a quality Cech has been known for, and the former Chelsea goalkeeper may fear for his place.