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October 2016
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Arsenal v Basel. Basel’s amazing form, Theo’s comeback, Arsenal’s team.

By Tony Attwood

Apparently it seems that we have never played Basel before, so we’ve never had a chance to do lots of Fawlty Towers jokes – but I won’t start now.  That would be far too silly.

But we have played Swiss teams before and have done quite well, winning four times in competitive games.  However this Basel squad looks rather formidable.  Here’s their league table.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Basel 9 9 0 0 29 7 22 27
BSC Young Boys 9 4 2 3 17 13 4 14
Lausanne-Sport 9 4 2 3 20 18 2 14
FC Lugano 9 4 2 3 14 13 1 14
FC Luzern 9 4 1 4 18 18 0 13
Grasshoppers Zürich 9 4 0 5 16 16 0 12
FC Sion 9 3 2 4 11 15 -4 11
FC St. Gallen 9 3 0 6 9 14 -5 9
FC Vaduz 9 2 2 5 9 19 -10 8
FC Thun 9 1 3 5 11 21 -10 6

Here are their results thus far (I wonder if they have an Anti-Basel Basel unit protesting that they never hit double figures).

Game Date Home Score Away
1 24 July FC Basel 3 : 0 Sion FC
2 31 July Vaduz 1 : 5 FC Basel
3 7 August Luzern 2 : 3 FC Basel
4 10 August FC Basel 3 : 0 Young Boys Bern
5 20 August FC Basel 4 : 1 Lugano AC
6 28 August Thun 0 : 3 FC Basel
7 10 September FC Basel 3 : 1 Grasshoppers Zürich
8 21 September Lausanne 1 : 2 FC Basel
9 24 September St. Gallen 1 : 3 FC Basel

In their first Champs League game this season they were at home against Ludogorets Razgrad and drew 1-1.

Mind you, our results in the Champs League group stages is not too bad.  We have lost three of the last 38 games, drawn six and won a rather impressive 29.   Basel on the other hand have drawn three and lost two of their last five Champions League games.

But of course Mr Wenger as always is cautious of the opposition saying, “Everyone will think that Basel will be easy. Then you look at the results of Basel against English teams, and you realise it will not be easy.    They beat Manchester United, they beat Chelsea, they beat Liverpool.

“So let’s prepare properly and keep our feet on the ground because in our job.  One thing I know if you are not prepared you are quickly hit on your head.”

I think they also beat Tottenham as well, but that would have been in the Thursday Night League so Mr W wouldn’t have counted that.

As for the team, we’ve lost Francis Coquelin – although for far less time than the hysterical media were predicting, and we’re in our usual upper mid-table position in the injury league.  These numbers are from…

# Club Players out Last man down What he got
1 Everton 6 L Baines Hamstring Injury
2 Hull City 6 B Lenihan Knee Surgery
3 Stoke City 5 J Walters Ankle Injury
4 West Ham United 5 A Masuaku Knee Injury
5 Sunderland 5 A Januzaj Ankle Injury
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5 M Sissoko Concussion
7 Arsenal 4 F Coquelin Knee Injury
8 Crystal Palace 4 W Zaha Hamstring Injury
9 Manchester United 4 A Martial Calf Injury
10 Chelsea 3 J Terry Ankle Injury

Which means we could conceivably go out with the team that played Chelsea off the park at the weekend, although with Ooooooooooooospina in goal.  Certainly I would expect the re-born, re-vitalised, re-ignited Theo to be playing once again.  After all, apparently he trained seven days a week all through the holidays with Bradley Simmonds.

Theo has started all six Premier League games this season so no reason to drop him now.  If we are winning easily in the second half he can come off and let someone else have a bash and allowing the defenders of Basel a chance to recover from the ordeal.

Mr Wenger said, “I always felt there is character and intelligence in this boy.  What was a big blow for him was not to go to the Euros. He is a guy with a good assessment of his performances and qualities. He is 27, a very important age. I said many times at the start of the season that we would see a different Theo Walcott. I could see he made a decision and stuck to it.

“I think he is intelligent and with intelligent people there is always a chance. Because he had two shocks last year – what happened to him at MU [when Alan Shearer had a bash at him in his inimitable style] and what happened at the Euros, and I think he thought about the problem, I had a chat with him at the start of the season and he was clear. He has assessed it all and came to a conclusion that looked to me very positive. And that’s why I thought he deserves a big chance.”

Of course there is also the Granit connection – he started out with Basel, and his brother is still there.

As to the crowd Mr W said, “It is down to us to keep them on our side because they can go quickly on the other side as well.  It’s important not to have an unexpected setback, and that we keep the quality very high in our performance.”

Of course the press are now talking about the opening two games of last season in the Champs League rather than the amazing end when Giroud really delivered.  Mr Wenger however was realistic saying, “Last year we went to Leicester and won 5-2 and three days later we lost at home to Olympiakos 3-2. So we have to go from different competitions to different competitions and produce the same performance.

“It’s a big motivation for us because we know there’s have two favourites at the start, PSG and Arsenal, but it’s not as clear as that and not as easy as it was maybe said. So we have to show that.   For us as well I think the team is on the way up. It’s important not to have a setback, an unexpected setback, and we keep the quality very high in our performance.”

So, the line up…

Whoscored has Gabriel as being injured, but physioroom doesn’t.  Giroud does however seem to be out again after his knock in the Chelsea game.  I have seen suggestions that Santi Caz is getting a bit tired what with him being an old man and all, so he could build sandcastles on the beach, and Elneny play in his place.  I’m not sure that’s an option, but you never know.


Bellerin    Mustafi    Koscielny   Monreal

Santi Caz     Granit

Theo    Ozil    Iwobi


Having the time of their lives on the beach…

Cech, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Pérez, Holding.

According to one of the bloggettas Arsenal is wearing the yellow and blue away kit tonight.  Their explanation is that Basel has an all white away kit and Uefa think this clashes with Arsenal’s white sleeves.  Basel’s home colours are half blue and half red, which clashes also apparently.   Basel don’t have a third choice outfit, so Arsenal change.

Well, it’s as good a story as any other.

I’m off to the Swimmer (an upper class public house used by the gentry m’lud), and hope to be meeting up with such members of the gang not currently on their honeymoon or living overseas.  Walter, I hope, might well pop up with a review of the game published within two seconds of the final whistle.

Not that I want to put you under any pressure Walter.

Recent Posts

From the anniversary files

28 September 2013: Arsenal made it a record breaking 12 consecutive away wins beating Swansea 2-1, as they also equal all time record of 8 consecutive away PL wins, set by Arsenal on 11 May 2002.



2 comments to Arsenal v Basel. Basel’s amazing form, Theo’s comeback, Arsenal’s team.

  • Jambug

    The famous quotation from Mark Twain that went,

    ‘The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’

    could easily apply to our Theos form, because apart from a dip in form in the second half of last season, which followed an injury, he has been remarkably consistent at a pretty high level, ever since he joined us.

    And here are the stats to prove it.

    These are the statistics from Theos Arsenal career:

    Appearances 220 (130)

    Goals 88

    Scoring ratio 1 in 2.5 games

    As a comparison these are the statistics for Raheem Stirlings career:

    Appearances 150 (44)

    Goals 38

    Scoring ratio 1 in 3.9

    So the player the media constantly say has been a failure seems to be slightly less of a failure than the player the media are always raving about. A lot better in fact.

    All that happened to Theo was that last year he got yet another injury, which for some reason he just didn’t recover from, until now.

    Prior to that injury he was flying. And here are the statistics to prove it. These figures include England matches:

    Start of season till the 27th of October.

    16 appearances 7 goals at a rate of 1 in 2.3 games.

    5th of December until the end of the season:

    29 appearances 5 goals at a rate of 1 in 5.8 games.

    So it’s obvious to me that the injury he had seriously affected him. The problem for Theo is the media, and on the back of that far too many Arsenal fans that should no better, jump on his back at the merest opportunity, and frankly it’s a joke.

    And just for the record this is how the Walcott and Stirling compare this year.


    7 Appearances 3 goals at a rate of 1 in 2.3 games.


    9 appearances 4 goals at a rate of 1 in 2.5 games.

    So Theo has started pretty much at the same impressive rate he started last season, yet we hardly hear a Dicky Bird from the media.

    On the other hand we haven’t heard the end of how Guardiola has transferred Sterling into the potential saviour of English football, but guess who’s scoring ratio is the best of the 2?

    For some reason, and I wonder what that is, Theo never seems to get the recognition he deserves when he’s playing well, which is most of the time despite rumours to the contrary, but gets slaughtered the moment he has, not just a poor spell, but if he has the temerity to have a poor match.

    I have said many times on here that Theo would be my first name on the team sheet every week.

    Now I’m not daft and know we have 2 absolute World beaters in our squad now, so he certainly has competition for that accolade, but whether he’s 1st 2nd 3rd or whatever he is a fantastic player.

  • Jambug

    Listening to Ian wright talk the same old shit on BT.

    Talking about Theo the show his stats from last year, but not like I did I might add. It needs that to give them perspective, but of course they don’t want perspective.

    Then he starts saying it’s all very well being good now, but he’s 27 and we should of seen this years ago. We did you dickhead, you just don’t want to see it.

    Do your f*****g home work Wright. Theos stats, as I showed where the same early in his career as they are now.

    Then we get slagged off for not being able to beat the ‘big boys’ such as City.

    Again, simply wrong. Go and look at the results over the last 3 years.

    Then we get slagged off for being poor out of possession. Apparently we cant defend.

    Again, simply wrong. Go and look at our defensive record over the last 3 years.

    A bunch of ignoramuses talking out of there arse, totally unchallenged and I have to pay for this shit.

    I don’t usually listen to the build but thought surely this should be ok.

    Fat chance.

    Ian Wright…you are an embarrassment.

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