Champions League

Basel v Arsenal: Champions League preview

Following on from Arsenal’s emphatic win at the London Stadium over the weekend, they go to Switzerland in search of a victory which will ensure they win the group but only if PSG do not pick up maximum points against Ludogorets.

Basel are currently leading the Swiss Super League by 12 points and despite their 3-1 loss against BSC Young Boys at the weekend, they’ll be hopeful of a Europa League spot, to achieve this they’ll have to better the result of Ludogorets.

Arsenal comfortably beat Basel 2-0 last time the sides met and Arsene Wenger’s side will be looking to achieve much of the same. It’ll be the third time the Xhaka brothers have come up against each other this year, following the match at Arsenals home ground and their Euro 2016 excursions. Which Xhaka will come out on top on Tuesday evening?

Ahead of the game, Per Mertesacker has been working his way towards match fitness as he attempts to return from injury. He has said that he looks at his targets on a day by day basis. Mertesacker also said that it’s important that Sanchez isn’t overplayed, citing what happened to the Chilean around this time last year.

The further good news for Arsenal is that Hector Bellerin and Olivier Giroud have returned to training. Bellerin, who has been out for three weeks, is unlikely to travel, due to recovering from an ankle injury, but the likelihood of Giroud making the squad is strong.

Given the strong possibility of PSG beating Ludogorets, would you prefer to see a second string side? The way I see it is, if Arsenal lose to Basel, having fielded an understrength side and Ludogorets take points off PSG, however unlikely that may be, Arsenal would probably be left rueing chances. So, I’d rather see a mixed side. However, I wouldn’t expect to see Sanchez playing. I’d prefer to see Giroud play instead.

Francis Coquelin is suspended for the match as he picked up a booking against PSG, this will see either Mohamed Elneny or Aaron Ramsey play in midfield alongside Granit Xhaka.

With Arsenal already through, I’d like to see an experimental line-up but a line-up strong enough to win.
Squad rotation was mentioned but whether that’s something Wenger has decided on is yet to be confirmed.
Basel manager Urs Fischer has insisted that West Ham dominated Arsenal but Arsenal had dynamic movement, and good forward runs. On the fixture itself, he went on to say that his side cannot afford to play for a draw, as he admits that’ll be too dangerous and he says his side will need to score goals, especially against a team such as Arsenal.

Feature image credit: wonker

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