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Preview: Arsenal v Basel, team news, Perez to start & prediction
Arsenal continue their Champions League campaign when we entertain FC Basel at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
We kicked off our 2016/17 European adventure with a valuable – albeit fortunate – 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago with Sanchez netting a late equaliser after we’d been dominated for much of the game.
Thankfully our form has improved since that night in Paris with comfortable wins over Hull and Nottingham Forest followed by Saturday’s impressive 3-0 victory over Chelsea.
The opening forty-five minutes against the Blues should set the tone for the season as we showed desire, tactical knowledge, quality and work rate in abundance so hopefully we see more of that kind of performance from the boys.
Coquelin’s knee injury that he sustained against Chelsea isn’t as bad as first feared and the midfielder is now only expected to miss around three weeks.
In Coquelin’s absence, Xhaka is set to come in to start in midfield while Ospina will return in goal as Wenger has confirmed the Colombian will play in the Champions League group stages.
Ramsey is still not considered fit to return as he continues to recover from a niggling hamstring injury that he suffered on the opening weekend of the season.
Giroud is suspended after being sent off late on against PSG – but he’s still carrying a toe injury so wouldn’t have been fit to play anyway – so he misses out along with Welbeck and Mertesacker.
I’d like to see Arsene make a few changes to keep players fresh with Gibbs coming in for Monreal at left-back and Elneny facing his former side with Cazorla given a well-earned breather.
With Giroud out, I’d also like to see Lucas Perez given another chance to impress up front with Alexis moving out to the wing.
Basel are no mugs and they have plenty of Champions League experience so we shouldn’t take them lightly but even with a few changes being made to the side we should have to much quality for the Swiss champions. I’m going for a 3-0 victory. Arsenal 3-0 Basel