Many may think that tonight’s game will be some easy feat given Arsenal’s recent run of form and the convincing 3-0 win against Chelsea at the weekend. But what if I was to tell you that Basel have not lost a Champions League game to English opposition since 2002!
Arsenal face off against Swiss side Basel on Match Day Two, in a fixture that’ll see Champions League football return to the home of Arsenal for yet another consecutive season. The match at the Emirates will see a former face off for two current Arsenal players, in Elneny and Xhaka, both whom have played for Basel in the past, whilst Granit will also play against his brother Taulant. The pair played against each other at the Euro’s this summer and so they won’t let family blood get in the way of their professionalism on the pitch, which is good for Arsenal given that Wednesday night is likely to be the first time Xhaka has managed to pull off a starting role in the squad.
Arsenal will have a slightly different team to put out in the Champions league, given the squad depth we can currently boast about, although the likes of Ramsey, Giroud and now Coquelin are all missing. It’s quite possible that both Xhaka and Elneny will get a chance to play against their former side and although it is expected Xhaka will play from the start, Elneny on the other hand may be given a bench role only.
Lucas Perez may get another opportunity up front like he did in the EFL CUP against Nottingham Forest, although Wenger may not want to move Alexis back out to the wing given he is now hitting the heights as a striker. With Alexis unlikely to be given a bench role, it may therefore be that Perez starts on the wing, giving a rest to either Walcott or Iwobi. The rest of the team will be anticipated as normal, although Ospina is likely to be put in goal over Cech for the clash, whilst Maitland-Niles may also be in store for a cameo role again at right back, after the youngster was included in Arsene Wenger’s squad.
As already stated, Basel have a good record when it comes to playing English opposition in the Champions League and so if Arsenal want to break the record that has been held since 2002, then the Gunners will have to pull off something special. Luckily for Arsenal, I think that on our current form and ability, we are more than capable of grabbing all three points as most would expect. It’s also vital we pick up a win on match day two given that we drew in France to PSG.
Who doyou think will play tonight?
Come On You Gunners!