Dazzling Arsenal raise Wenger's England stock

Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:07pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - If he really wants the once-again vacant England job Arsene Wenger's Arsenal players provided the Frenchman the perfect showreel in a classy 2-0 defeat of FC Basel to move joint top of Champions League Group A on Wednesday.

Sam Allardyce's self-inflicted demise after only 67-days in charge of the national team has inevitably given voice to those who say the FA should turn to Wenger -- an almost de-facto Englishman after 20 years in charge of Arsenal.

Arsenal's vibrant display against a club that has got the better of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the competition in recent years will strengthen their calls.

Theo Walcott, discarded by Allardyce's predecessor Roy Hodgson for the woeful Euro 2016 campaign, scored twice before the break as the hosts tore Basel apart.

Walcott combined superbly with Alexis Sanchez for both goals -- the first a header from the Chilean's cross after six minutes and the second a precise shot after a slick one-two with the south American wizard left Basel's defense standing.

Had it not been for Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik, a rampant Arsenal could have been six up before halftime.

A pre-match poll on the BBC's website had 66 percent of voters agreeing that Wenger should lead England out of the mess created by Allardyce's downfall after he was secretly filmed making inappropriate comments in a Daily Telegraph sting.

Wenger said he had been surprised by the chain of events but declined to offer any clues as to what the future may hold once his current Arsenal contract runs out next year.   Continued...

Britain Soccer Football - Arsenal v FC Basel - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group A - Emirates Stadium, London, England - 28/9/16
FC Basel's Tomas Vaclik and Mohamed Elyounoussi look dejected after the match
Reuters / Stefan Wermuth