CL: Lucas Perez smells goals, says Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger lauds hat-trick man Perez after Arsenal beat Basel 4-1 to advance as group winners for the first time since 2012 in Champions League
London: Arsene Wenger praised Lucas Perez's scent for goals after the forward's hat-trick against Basle saw Arsenal finish top of their Champions League group.
Perez hit three goals as the Gunners registered a 4-1 victory in Switzerland, with Alex Iwobi adding the fourth and Seydou Doumbia grabbing a late goal for the hosts. The win, coupled with PSG's draw at home to Ludogorets, means Arsenal advance to the round of 16 as group winners for the first time since 2012.
Perez tapped home two goals within eight first-half minutes before completing his hat-trick just after the interval. Iwobi then finished from close-range as Arsenal outclassed their hosts, with Perez the star of the show having started just his fifth game since his summer move from Deportivo La Coruna.
Arsenal's Lucas Perez celebrates a goal during the Champions league tie against Basel at St Jakob Park Stadium in Basel on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
The 28-year-old had only scored an EFL Cup brace over Nottingham Forest, having also missed a period of games with an ankle injury. But he showed what he could do as he put Basle to the sword, before earning the plaudits of his manager.
"I think he took advantage of the fact that we created good chances, but he's a goalscorer. He scored over 20 goals in Spain and that's no coincidence," said Wenger.
"So overall I think that he's shown that he has a good smell for a goal. The first two looked easy goals. The third was a real striker's goal."
No. of passes involved in Perez's second goal, more than any goal this season in Europe
No. of Arsenal players to score a hat-trick in the ChampionsLeague (Perez, Bendtner, Ozil Henry, Welbeck, Giroud)
Cricket World Cup 2019: Indian Team leaves for England