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Walcott-inspired Arsenal too good for Basel

Theo Walcott scored twice inside the opening half-hour as Arsenal, unbeaten in all competitions since the opening day of the season, picked up their first Group A victory.

Matchday 2 highlights: Watch Walcott's Arsenal double against Basel

Arsenal continued their fine start to their latest UEFA Champions League campaign, beating Basel 2-0 thanks to two sublime first-half goals from Theo Walcott, both finished effortlessly by the England forward after he had been laid on by Alexis Sánchez.

Sánchez, Mesut Özil and Walcott again all had great chances to add to the tally before the break as Arsenal threatened to run riot – only Basel's goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík prevented them from doing so.

Walcott revelling in Sánchez partnership

David Ospina made one excellent save from Birkir Bjarnason at the other end, but Arsenal maybe should have even won by more, with Alex Iwobi and the tireless Sánchez both coming close to setting the seal on a highly impressive display.

Key player: Theo Walcott
Walcott has the famous Arsenal No14 shirt previously worn by Thierry Henry, no less, and there were moments here when he resembled its most celebrated incumbent. His first-half double was expertly taken – the suspended Olivier Giroud would have been proud of his opening header – and his combination play with Sánchez was a delight throughout. If the pair can maintain their level of individual and collective form, Arsenal will be a formidable proposition – and Walcott will score plenty more.

Taulant and Granit Xhaka after the final whistle
Taulant and Granit Xhaka after the final whistle©Getty Images

Xhaka v Xhaka
Brothers Granit and Taulant Xhaka faced each other again here, having previously done so when Switzerland played Albania at UEFA EURO 2016. They had contrasting evenings in north London, older sibling Taulant working overtime at the heart of a busy Basel back five as the Gunners took control. Granit, by contrast, was allowed to spray the ball about with comfort having been reinstated to the Arsenal midfield in the absence of the injured Francis Coquelin.

Reporter's view: Andy Brassell (@UEFAcomAndyB)
There was concern before kick-off that Arsenal would not be able to live up to their impressive win against Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday. Instead they were, if anything, even better, playing with real fluency in the first half especially. There should have been more goals, certainly, but the manner and intuition of Arsenal's play showed that they feel ready to take control of the group and make a real dent in this season's competition.

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