Arsenal have looked pretty solid to kick off the 2016/17 season, after overcoming a shaky start and a tough loss at home to Liverpool. Since then, they’ve looked capable of beating anybody and Wenger’s team are certainly on the rise. Could this be their year? Who knows, but next up is FC Basel in the Champions League, and a win is crucial.
It’ll be another interesting match to watch. The two teams will be playing each other for the first time, they haven’t played each other in the past. So far the most uncertain group, where all teams have identical score, hopefully, after this round, will separate winners from the losers.
Basel have been in the best of form, their draw against Ludogorets in the Champions league was their first game without a win. They are currently on top of Swiss Super League table with 27 points from 9 games.
Arsenal will be without Olivier Giroud for the visit of the Swiss club with the striker facing a one-game suspension after he was sent off for a second bookable offence in the final minutes of the game against the Ligue 1 champions. Francis Coquelin will also be absent after picking up a knee injury during the win against the Blues on Saturday. Aaron Ramsey will only be back after the International break.
There’ll be many reunions in the match with Mohamed Elneny facing his old club. The Egyptian joined Arsenal from Basel in January and he will be meeting his old friends. Granit Xhaka will also be playing against his childhood club. It all started from Basel for the midfielder and it is expected to be an emotional reunion. It will also be brothers reuniting as Granit and Taulant Xhaka will lock horns against each other. The siblings last met against each other in the Euros as Switzerland played against Albania.
On current form, you’d seem naive to bet against Arsenal at home but Basel will be equally bullish about their chances of sealing a positive away result from a Gunners side that despite all our quality, still have underlying issues of old in European competition. One more thing to notice is that Basel has beaten the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
If Arsenal start quick, we can expect another comfortable victory and the game to be done within the hour, but if they fail to do that then Basel can be a stubborn team to break down.