After a morale-boosting 5-1 away victory against West Ham on Saturday evening, an away trip to Switzerland to face Basel is next in store for Arsenal to finish this year’s UEFA Champions League group stages.
Alexis Sánchez has been excellent this season and his well-taken hat-trick this past weekend is testament to his ability and work ethic. Basel were undefeated in their domestic league until Young Boys beat them 3-1 on Saturday. Champions League Betting have Arsenal favourites to finish second in the group after blowing their change to beat PSG in the last round of matches.
Both sides have things to play for in the final matchday of Group A this term.
Basel cannot qualify for the knockout rounds but know anything better than a defeat at the hands of Arsène’s side could see them progress into the UEFA Europa League last-32 after Christmas.
Arsenal on the other hand, have to beat Basel and hope that PSG don’t prevail in their home clash with Ludogorets, which is unlikely but this 2016.
The boss outlined his desire for the side he chooses to do their job and come away with a victory, whilst remaining fairly nonchalant about the possibility of finishing runners-up in the group stages for the fifth successive campaign.
“I believe we want to win the game and do our job, continue to win the games we play,” he said.“You never know what is happening in Paris.”
Contract updates on Alexis and Mesut Özil have seemed never-ending in recent months, with 18 months left on both players’ existing contracts at the club. When quizzed by reporters about whether they were close to an eventual agreement, he said, “You negotiate more with the agents than the player so we are in negotiations, of course it is normal. The luxury in the modern game should be that it is not only about money. Players make good money wherever.”
There are no fresh injury issues after Saturday’s victory. With that being said, Francis Coquelin (suspension) is unavailable for selection and Olivier Giroud will be expecting to feature at some stage after shaking off his latest knock.
David Ospina, who is Wenger’s preferred Champions League goalkeeper, should be recalled to the starting eleven in place of Petr Čech.
21-year-old striker Chuba Akpom updated supporters on his injury progress, saying he’s happy to have begun running again after a troublesome back problem. Having impressed in pre-season, the youngster could potentially be loaned out in January to earn regular minutes if he proves his fitness.
Defensive duo, Hector Bellerín (ankle) and Per Mertesacker (knee) were both pictured on Monday completing individual training sessions at London Colney as they step-up their efforts to regain full fitness.
Gabriel was an unsung hero during our thrashing over Slaven Bilic’s side, making a number of interceptions and clearances in a role that he doesn’t have much playing experience in. It’s possible that he’ll be rewarded with another start again at right-back, given issues in that area of defence.
Possible XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Xhaka, Ramsey; Iwobi, Ox, Özil; Alexis.
As previously mentioned, Basel’s unbeaten league start was ended this past weekend. Despite this, they’ll be hoping they can bounce back in fine fashion especially given their recent history against Premier League sides at St. Jakob-Park.
Since 2011, they’ve beaten Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool in home fixtures across European competition.
Urs Fischer’s men were unfortunate to concede late on against PSG in matchday four courtesy of a Thomas Meunier strike from range, before labouring to a goalless draw against Ludogorets last time out. You expect they’ll be taking appropriate steps to try and avoid the same fate against Arsenal, in a match that they ultimately cannot afford to lose.
Possible XI (4-1-4-1): Vaclik; Traoré, Balanta, Suchy, Lang; Xhaka; Bjarnson, Dié, Delgado, Steffen; Doumbia.