On September 28th, Arsenal will be hosting Basel at the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League. Both teams came from behind for 1-1 draws in matchday one. Both teams will look to get three points on matchday two.
Arsenal snatched a very undeserved point from their match at the Parc des Princes thanks to a late equalizer from Alexis Sanchez. They’ll be looking to improve their result and their performance against Basel.
Basel were the beneficiaries of an even later equalizer when Renato Steffen scored in the 80th minute against Ludogorets. It was going to be unlikely that Basel progressed if they beat Ludogorets twice, now with a draw against them, the Swiss side will need to beat Arsenal and/or PSG at least once.
Arsenal have a few injury concerns, but only one knew one, according to Physioroom.com. It looks like Francis Coquelin is likely to miss out after he suffered a knee injury against Chelsea at the weekend. Apart from that Arsene Wenger confirmed that Aaron Ramsey is still a few weeks away from fitness and will miss out. Then Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker continue to miss out with long term injuries. Olivier Giroud will also miss out through suspension after he was sent off against PSG.
Basel look like they’ll be going into this match with a mostly fit squad. Manuel Akanji will continue to miss out with a long term knee injury and Marc Janko may miss out with a lingering hamstring injury, according to transfermarkt.com.
These two sides have never faced each other before in any competition. Arsenal have only faced two Swiss sides in their history, beating FC Thun 1-0 and 2-1 in 2005 and beat Grasshopper Club Zurich 5-0 over two legs in 1971. Basel on the other hand have drawn English opposition five times in the last six seasons, facing Chelsea twice, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham. They have only lost twice in those 10 meetings with English sides.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal have started the season in free scoring form. One of the key men to their attack this year has been Sanchez. The Chilean has started the season on fire with five goals and two assists in seven appearances. Despite spending most of his Arsenal career on the wing, the 28 year old has been playing striker this season. The attack struggled at first, with only three open play goals in it’s first three league games, but the Gunners have now scored eight goals in their last three matches with Sanchez up top. He’s started the season on fire and he’ll hope he can light Basel up on Wednesday.
Basel: Birkir Bjarnason
Basel have many players that can cause Arsenal problems, including strikers like Sedou Doumbia and Marc Janko. But they will need a complete team performance to beat Arsenal. One player that showed he could be part of that this summer was Bjarnason. Not only did the Icelandic wide midfielder score Iceland’s first ever goal at major tournament, he was also part of the side that knocked England out of the European Championships. Now he’ll look to help upset another English team in Europe. The industrious wide midfielder will have to get back and help defend Arsenal’s dangerous wide midfielders, but he’ll also hope to snatch a goal at the other end and shock Arsenal.
Arsenal have started the season reasonably well, but Basel will not be an easy opponent. The Swiss side have only lost one of their last five trips to England and have a very capable squad. The Swiss side should make this a very tight match, but, at the Emirates Arsenal should still be able to grind out a win.