Arsene Wenger is wary of Basel after the Swiss team beat both Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years.
Despite not being one of the first names to come to mind when you think of European giants, Basel have enjoyed some decent results against English clubs in the Champions League. Therefore, as the boss says, they won’t be intimidated heading into their clash with Arsenal at the Emirates on Wednesday.
“Yes, of course, [Xhaka and Elneny have helped me] a little bit,” said Wenger during his press conference.
“Because Xhaka plays against Xhaka tomorrow, and so it’s a family job basically.
“I think they might hide each other some truths as well, but of course we know Basel well because we bought Elneny last season from Basel.”
Indeed, after scouting Elneny at Basel, we must be pretty aware of how they’ll set up on Wednesday night. However, the same could be said for them. Although they’ve not necessarily scouted any of our players, all they have to do is watch previous matches and that’s proven to be enough for some clubs visiting the Emirates. In fact, some could argue that we’ve become really predictable in how we’ll play.
The boss used Manchester United and Chelsea as examples of how well Basel have done in Europe, which is why we need to be careful.
“They are a team who are used to playing in the Champions League. It’s not a newcomer or a beginner in the Champions League, they have huge experience in the competition.
“This experience goes through the generations and this is why they’re not intimidated. I don’t expect them to be intimidated at all. On the other hand, they have nothing to lose. That’s always dangerous.”
Hopefully, our approach to the Champions League this season will be slightly different considering we’ve failed to make it past the final 16 for a while. It’d be nice to get a good run.