#Arsenal 4 Galatasaray 1
Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Champions League yesterday, putting behind them the abject performance away to Borussia Dortmund in their previous group match and putting a smile on manager Arsene Wenger's face as he celebrated 18 years in charge of the Gunners. They demolished Galatasaray 4-1 to get their European campaign back on track, with much seeming to depend on the double header with Anderlecht that is next up as to whether they qualify from the group stages or not.
Danny Welbeck was the main weapon they employed to get the much needed result, as he turned in a tour de force up front to score a hat trick in front of the Emirates' fans, reminiscent in some ways of their legendary striker Thierry Henry. Comparisons to the great man may be premature, but manager Wenger will at least be pleased to see Welbeck moving in the right direction and providing some payback on his investment in the last transfer window.
Arsenal went into the game with a lengthening injury list with several key senior players sidelined, including Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey to name but a few. That they managed to win the match, let alone win so comfortably, will perhaps ease the fans' worries for a while with the next international break coming up shortly. Besides Welbeck's expertly taken goals, Alexis Sanchez completed the scoring for them on the night, with Galatasaray scoring from the penalty spot through Burak Yilmaz after keeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off for fouling the striker. Late pressure from the Turkish team almost brought them more reward afterwards as they utilised the extra man advantage, but they were kept out by sub keeper David Ospina's heroics.
Elsewhere in Group D, Dortmund won away at Anderlecht 3-0 to top the table with six points, Arsenal now moving into second on 3 points after their win.
Basel 1 #Liverpool 0
Liverpool's poor start to the season continued as they were beaten in Switzerland by Basel, throwing Group B wide open for the second qualifying place. The Reds knew that they had an intimidating double header home and away to group favourites Real Madrid next up, so a win would have given them some breathing space. Basel went into the match knowing that the opening day heavy defeat to Real had put them on the back front and bottom of the group, but a 1-0 victory was secured with a solid performance on the night capped with a goal for their captain Marco Streller.
In an open first half ,the best chance was created and almost scored by Serey Die for Basel, but Simon Mignolet managed to save. Liverpool's best opportunity of the half came from a Philippe Coutinho cross, but Dejan Lovren's header lacked power. Both teams wasted other promising situations through either silly offsides or poor first touches during the half.
Basel secured the win on 52 minutes when Streller hooked the ball into the net following a header from a corner that Mignolet had initially saved. Liverpool seemed to show more urgency thereafter and created some chances. They were unfortunate not to equalise when a long range swerving effort by Mario Balotelli from a free kick was only palmed out to Lazar Markovic, whose follow up was blocked. They worked space in the box for Raheem Sterling on 75 minutes, but he lost control of the ball and it bobbled through to the keeper. Markovic dragged another opportunity wide later on, but it was typical of the lack of a clinical edge to their play (main striker Daniel Sturridge continues to be missing through injury) and time ran out as the Swiss held on to their advantage.
In the other Group B match played last night, Real Madrid came from behind to beat Ludogorets 2-1 thanks to a winner from Karim Benzema on 77 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo missed and then converted a penalty for them, after Marcelo had put the home side ahead early on. Real top the group with maximum points from their two games with Basel and Liverpool neck and neck on three points each behind them. #Football