Arsenal face FC Basel at the Emirates in their second Champions League group stage fixture of the season. After securing an away draw against Paris Saint-Germain, The Gunners will be hoping to get all three points from their first meeting with the Swiss side.
Match: Arsenal v FC Basel
Stadium: Emirates Stadium
Kick Off (GMT): Tue 28 Sep 19:45
FC Basel secured a draw at home to Ludogorets in the previous round and now prepare to maintain their impressive run against English clubs with all three points at the Emirates. The Swiss side’s record in Europe isn’t overly impressive, the club dominates their domestic league. Manager Urs Fischer led FC Basel to their seventh consecutive Swiss Super League title last season.
The visitors have completely dominated their domestic league in recent years and this season is no different. They have won all nine matches in the league so far and are well on their way to securing an eighth successive Swiss Super League title. In fact, the only competitive match FC Basel haven’t won this season was that 1-1 draw against Ludogorets in the Champions League two weeks ago.
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Urs Fischer would love to keep this run going tonight but would undoubtedly be pleased with a point from the Emirates.
Champions League Record
FC Basel have some experience in the Champions League. The Swiss club made the group stages in 2014-15 and even reached the Round of 16 in 2011-12 and 2014-15. Basel have only really started performing in Europe in the last decade or so but are no strangers to the competition.
The club have famously beaten Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea twice in the last several years. Their recent record against English clubs is one of the best of any European club but only when playing in Switzerland. Basel’s record when travelling to English opposition is comparatively awful, winning just once in twelve matches.
Arsenal and Basel have never played against each other so there is very little to base this on. While Basel have a much-publicised record against English sides, Arsenal have never lost to a Swiss opponent.
Fischer usually opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation and alternates between his two main centre forwards, Seydou Doumbia and Marc Janko. Janko played for Switzerland in the European Championships during the summer but the player is doubtful for tonight’s match with a knee strain.
Basel will be without Manuel Akanji, but Granit Xhaka’s elder brother Taulant will be available to start against the Gunners. Fans of Football Manager will also get a chance to see one of the game’s greats in action tonight. FM Cult Hero, Eder Alvarez Balanta should start for the visitors. Another familiar name in the squad is Birkir Bjarnason who starred for Iceland in the European Championships during the summer.
Basel: Vaclík; Lang, Suchý, Balanta, Traoré; Xhaka, Zuffi; Bjarnason, Delgado, Steffen; Doumbia.
One of FC Basel’s main attacking threats comes in the form of Matias Delgado. The home side will need to avoid giving him too much time on the ball. Taulant Xhaka also represents a solid presence in midfield and there could be several clashes between the Basel man and his brother on the pitch. The Swiss are potent counter-attackers so The Gunners will have to prevent losing possession too often.
Basel are prone to being a little overexposed in defence. Naturally a side as domestically dominant won’t exactly be used to not having the ball. The Gunners’ best is to try and control the match and unsettle the visitors as much as possible.
Failing that, the aggressive high pressure exhibited during the victory over Chelsea on the weekend would also work well against the Swiss side. Basel’s defenders have been known to get caught a little high up the pitch when attacking and this is something the home side can take advantage of.