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.
|BSC Young Boys||9||4||2||3||17||13||4||14|
|FC St. Gallen||9||3||0||6||9||14||-5||9|
Here are their results thus far (I wonder if they have an Anti-Basel Basel unit protesting that they never hit double figures).
|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 physioroom.com…
|#||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.
- How much longer must English tax payers fund the criminal idiocy of the FA?
- Arsenal Belgium in the TV studios and Arsenal getting all the praise in the world
- Ref Review Arsenal – Chelsea : Another good performance from the ref!
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.