Given the nature of Saturday’s emphatic 3-0 win over London rivals Chelsea, you wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal wanted to play this game on Sunday.
The Gunners are still buzzing from the weekends result, a victory that ended an unwanted record that goes back over five years to the early days of Jose Mourinho.
But we’ve had our fun with that result now and it’s time to focus on our involvement in Europe and bagging the three points needed to get top spot in this group.
It’s an old saying but if you win your home games and don’t lose the away game you’re 99% sure of going through, and a result over Basel will give Wenger a chance to relax.
This is the first time these two sides have met in their history, but the game will be important for a couple of reasons as Elneny comes up against his former side, whilst Xhaka could in charge of defending against his brother.
Wenger is expected to make 3-4 changes from the side that beat Chelsea at the weekend, with the most notable being the man between the sticks as Ospina gets another shot.
The only player lost from the weekend is Francis Coquelin, who after having a test on a recurring knee injury is now set to return after the international break.
Olivier Giroud remains suspended, but Wenger announced the striker still hasn’t shaken off his toe injury and is a serious doubt for Sunday’s test with Burnley.
Also on the sidelines is Aaron Ramsey who despite targeting this game in his recovery will not be risked, that’s nearly two months the midfielder has missed now.
It’ll be a game where changes can be made and this is where we can see that squad depth come into play, with Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka and Lucas ready to come in.
Arsenal Absentees: Mertesacker (knee), Ramsey (hamstring), Welbeck (knee), Giroud (toe), Coquelin (knee)
One To Watch
Arsenal – David Ospina
Probably his best performance in an Arsenal shirt came in the trip to PSG the other week, and if it wasn’t for him Arsenal could’ve suffered a cricket score.
This is a really big moment for Ospina because being back in the Emirates will no doubt bring back memories of the shockers he had against Zagreb and Olympiacos last year.
He is good enough to be Arsenal’s number one right now and I don’t think people realise his true ability because he’s never given a good string of games.
A good performance against Basel will get his confidence right back up, and if he continues to put in a show like PSG then Petr Cech should have one eye on the Colombian.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Xhaka, Elneny, The Ox, Ozil, Alexis, Lucas
Basel (4-2-3-1): Vaclik, Suchy, Lang, Traore, Alvarez, Delgado, Calia, Xhaka, Elyounoussi, Doumbia, Sporar
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Basel
Providing nobody has a shocker, this should be a fairly simple game for the Gunners and another clean sheet is on the horizon with Koscielny and Mustafi together again.
Basel will come at this game with everything they’ve got and won’t be happy to sit back and take it because they know Arsenal will begin to dominate and eventually score.
A game like this Basel will want an early goal to settle into the atmosphere so expect a frantic start to this one, but with this squad I can’t see anything other than three points for Wenger.
Saturday was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time, and if the new guys coming in to the side can replicate the energy to chase everything down then Basel will fall flat on the faces.