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Preview: Basel v Arsenal, team news, Giroud to start + Prediction

By on December 6, 2016
arsenal's olivier giroud

Image credit: Daily Star

Arsenal are in Switzerland to take on Basel in our final Champions League group stage match needing a minor miracle to secure top spot.

We warmed up for the game with a 5-1 win over West Ham with Alexis Sanchez hitting a superb hat-trick at the London Stadium which has left us sitting second in the Premier League table.

But thoughts must turn to Europe tonight and we’ve already booked our place in the knockout stages after winning three and drawing two of our five games so far to sit level on points with Paris Saint-Germain.

However, the French champions are in pole position due to their superior head-to-head record after securing a 2-2 draw at the Emirates two weeks ago [after we drew 1-1 away in Paris].

Therefore, we need Ludogorets to get something from their game at the Parc des Princes and beat Basel to nick first place, but we all know that’s highly unlikely to happen as Ludogorets are going to get spanked by PSG.

Team news

Arsene Wenger has decided against taking a weakened squad with him and he’s hinted that Sanchez won’t be rested as the boss feels it’s always better to play an in-form player.

Olivier Giroud is back in the squad after recovering from a groin injury but it remains to be seen whether he’ll come back in to the starting eleven or have to make do with a place on the bench.

Hector Bellerin is back in training but isn’t ready to return just yet after missing the last month with an ankle injury while Santi Cazorla will be out until at least February with his Achilles problem.

Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are in light training as they continue to work their way back to full fitness following serious injuries but the pair aren’t available just yet so they remain on the sidelines along with Mathieu Debuchy.

Francis Coquelin hasn’t travelled to Switzerland as he’ll face a one-game ban after collecting three bookings during the group stages.

Preferred line-up

Gabriel did well at right-back at the weekend so I’d protect him and recall Carl Jenkinson while I’d also give Kieran Gibbs a run out at left-back.

Mohamed Elneny should come in for Coquelin to face his former club while David Ospina will once again replace Petr Cech between the sticks.

Wenger is unlikely to do it but I think we should rest Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. This game is practically a dead rubber so let’s protect our star duo as we’d kick ourselves if they got injured.

How Basel are expected to line-up:  Vaclík; Lang, Suchý, Balanta, Traoré; Xhaka, Zuffi; Bjarnason, Delgado, Steffen; Šporar.

Prediction

A lot depends on the team Wenger puts out but I expect him to play a very strong side that includes Ozil/Sanchez so we have to fancy our chances of getting the three points. Basel can be a dangerous side on their day but we should have too much for the Swiss champions. Basel 1-2 Arsenal

Will it be enough to finish top? Somehow I doubt it….

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  1. Pingback: Arsenal Fanatik » Preview: Basel v Arsenal, team news, Giroud to start + Prediction

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