After waiting five years for their first win over rivals Chelsea, Arsenal will be looking to take their good league form into the UEFA Champions League clash versus F.C. Basel at the Emirates Stadium this Wednesday.
The Gunners shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes earlier this month and will be hoping to earn all three points this time around in order to ensure momentary control of Group A, with the French club standing as out and out favourites for their game against Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the same fixture.
Despite Basel failing to win in each of their last five Champions League games, winning against them will be easier said than done, as the Swiss champions leave an envious trail of defeated English clubs behind them since 2011.
The former club of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny eliminated Manchester United from the Champions League Group Stages back in 2011, whereas it was Liverpool, as well as Chelsea before them, who received the same treatment two years ago.
On top of that, Arsenal will have to be wary of Basel’s impressive domestic form, coming into the encounter with a 100% record in the Raiffeisen Super League so far this season, but the Gunners will also be able to point towards their own unbeaten feat versus Swiss opposition, with their latest triumph coming against F.C. Thun in 2006.
Fresh from his widely-celebrated 20th year anniversary in command of Arsenal, Arsène Wenger will be without the Francis Coquelin after a knee injury cut his participation in the Chelsea win short last Saturday.
Coquelin is added to the likes of Aaron Ramsey, scheduled to return shortly after the international break, Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson on the sidelines, which could pave way for Xhaka’s introduction into the Arsenal XI.
Should Arsenal’s summer signing start, he’ll be up against his older brother, Taulant Xhaka, for the first time since Switzerland’s Euro 2016 group game against Albania, whereas there’s also the possibility that Wenger acquiesces to David Ospina’s desires by handing him a second consecutive start in the Champions League.
Predicted Line-up: David Ospina; Héctor Bellerín, Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla; Theo Walcott, Mesut Özil, Alex Iwobi; Alexis Sánchez