Arsenal will host Swiss outfit FC Basel at the Emirates for their second game of the group phase of their 2016/17 Champions League campaign on 28th September 2016. Coming off the back of a wonderful victory over city rivals Chelsea in the Premier League, the Gunners are in high spirits for the game which by all means is extremely important considering they have already dropped points against PSG in the opening fixture.
After suffering the ignominy of crashing out of the competition in the round of 16 for the last 6 years, Arsene Wenger believes that this year he will have a better chance of competing in Europe’s elite competition as after a long time he has a squad at his disposal which has maturity as well as depth. It is thus absolutely necessary to grab all three points against Basel at home so that Arsenal have a better chance of qualifying as group winners and of progressing beyond their jinxed round of 16 stage.
Arsenal will be without Francis Coquelin for the tie as he went of injured in the first half against Chelsea at the weekend. There would be some changes for the tie with David Ospina, who looks to be the designated shot stopper for the cup competitions, will come back into the starting line-up.
Coquelin absence would pave the way for Granit Xhaka to start against his former employers and his brother Taulant. There might also be a start for new man Lucas Perez with striker Olivier Giroud suspended for the tie after his red card against PSG. Alexis Sanchez thus, could be moved on to the left wing with Alex Iwobi starting on the bench. Arsenal will also have another former Basel player on the bench in Mohamed Elneny for the tie.
Basel, on the other hand, are on a hot streak, winning all 9 of their matches in the Swiss Super League. The team is high on confidence and with almost all of its players fit and available for the tie, they will provide a good test for the home side.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Cazorla; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Perez.
FC Basel (4-4-1-1): Vaclik; Suchy, Lang, Traore, Alvarez; Delgado, Calla, Taulant Xhaka, Elyounoussi; Fransson, Sporar.
The Key player for Arsenal in the game would be Granit Xhaka, who will have the task of not only controlling the midfield but also containing the experienced Matias Delgado who has scored 4 goals in his 9 games for the visitors in the League already. A family feud will occur again as Granit’s older brother Taulant has already revealed that his parents wants Basel to beat Arsenal, which the Gunner’s midfielder would be desperate not to allow at any costs.
The home team are big favourites with their win priced at 4/11 as the visitors win is at 7/1. A draw is rated at 19/5. (888Sport)
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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