Basel v Arsenal: the teams, the stats, the preview

By Tony Attwood

So before we go any further time to look at the goal scorers

Rank Player Club Goals
1 Diego Costa Chelsea 11
Alexis Sánchez Arsenal
3 Sergio Agüero Manchester City 10

Alexis has also got a couple of goals in Europe.   So as we look forward to tonight’s game it is time to compare Alexis and Thierry Henry once again.

Alexis scored 25 in season one, 17 in season two and 13 thus far in season three.  Thierry Henry’s record was 26, 22, 32 across those three seasons.  The difference in the second season came from the fact that Alexis played 11 games fewer than Thierry.

So it is all looking rather jolly, but even so there is a chance that tonight Alexis will play on the wing to let Giroud go into the centre.   Francis Coquelin has not travelled as he is suspended.   Özil has travelled will presumably play but could be taken off if PSG’s score makes it clear that Arsenal have no chance of bettering them tonight.

Speaking of giving Alexis a rest Mr Wenger said, “It’s more dangerous to stop him than keep him going. It is always difficult to work out what is physical and what is mental [in terms of fatigue], and predicting who is tired and who is not can be hard. So I have kept them all together as a group. We have a squad that is united.

“All the players at the top want to play, and are keen to play. Alexis is a bit more extroverted in how he shows it, but you do not get to his level if you don’t have a good passion to play the game. He just shows it in a different way. But I haven’t decided yet, honestly. I have a few more hours, but my main priority will be to win the game. Overall, it’s stability. But we have to do our job, and continue to win the games we play. You never know what might be happening in Paris. We’ll see: PSG are favourites to beat Ludogorets at home and win the group, but we can assess that scoreline at half-time and see where we go.”

We’re told Granit Xhaka will start; he’s playing against the club whose youth team he played for.  Granit said, “I was born and raised here, and played in the youth team before going on to win the Swiss championship with the club.  Being back home is great. But I hope I can take positive feelings back to England tomorrow.”
As for whether PSG will easily win tonight, it is worth remembering that at the weekend they lost 3-0 away to Montpellier so not everything is perfect for them, and they remain in third place in the French League.
Meanwhile here’s the Group A table.  Arsenal have the better goal difference but PSG are higher up the league because they scored more goals in the games between the two clubs.
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Paris Saint Germain 5 3 2 0 11 5 6 11
Arsenal 5 3 2 0 14 5 9 11
Ludogorets Razgrad 5 0 2 3 4 13 -9 2
FC Basel 5 0 2 3 2 8 -6 2

In other groups Porto, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Benfica are all in second place, exactly as are Arsenal, and Mr Wenger said, “It looks quite even if you finish first or second.   The advantage of finishing first is you play the second leg at home, and possibly 30 minutes of extra time at home.

So what do we know about Arsenal and Basel, apart from the oft repeated tale that Arsenal have won all five of their previous competitive games against Swiss clubs?   Here’s their league table, and it makes rather impressive reading.

  P W D L F A GD Pts
1  Basel 17 14 2 1 48 15 +33 44
2  Young Boys 17 9 5 3 39 22 +17 32
3  Luzern 17 9 2 6 35 30 +5 29
4  Sion 17 8 2 7 35 30 +5 26
5  Grasshoppers 17 6 3 8 26 32 -6 21

You may (if you are of that turn of mind) wish to compare and contrast with the Premier League

But Baselca can be a threat and have won their last three Champions League home games against English clubs and have only lost only two of their past eight Champions League home games, those defeats coming against Real Madrid and PSG.

We’ve not gone through the Champions League group stages without a defeat since 2005/06.  And there is a similarity between our plights.   Basel must do better than Ludo to get into the Europa league with Tottenham, just as we need to better PSG’s result to win the group.

So to the team:


Gabriel Mustafi Koscielny Gibbs

Elneny Xhaka

Ramsey Ozil Iwobi


with the alternative option of Alexis playing instead of Iwobi and Giroud playing up front.

If we have that line up above the on the beach we could see Lucas, Petr Cech, The Ox, Theo, Holding, Monreal, Maitland-Niles.

As for the other pointers:

  • Arsenal have scored two or more goals in each of their last four Champs League games
  • Bales have failed to win any of their last seven Champs League games.
  • We’ve just played five in a row undefeated in the Champs League.

From the anniversary files: when everyone saw the name had changed

6 December 1919: 50,000 came to Highbury for the first time to see 1-1 draw with Chelsea.  It was also the day on which the programme referred to the club on its cover for the first time simply as “Arsenal”.

The full list of each day’s anniversaries appears on the home page (except when I forget) and you can see all 5000 of the anniversary file stories here.


95 Replies to “Basel v Arsenal: the teams, the stats, the preview”

  1. A quick update on our U19s whose game against Basel was this afternoon and it ended frustratingly for the lads with a one all draw. Eddie Nketiah scored for Arsenal in the 80th minute but Basel equalised in the last minute. We needed to win and score two goals to progress so sadly an exit for the youngsters.

  2. Confirmed starters

    Ospina, Gibbs, Koscielny, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka, Ramsey, Lucas, Mesut, Iwobi, Sanchez


    Czech, Mustafi, Elneny, Monreal, Ox, Theo, Giroud

  3. From

    13 David Ospina (GK)
    3 Kieran Gibbs
    5 Gabriel
    6 Laurent Koscielny (C)
    7 Alexis Sánchez
    8 Aaron Ramsey
    9 Lucas Pérez
    11 Mesut Özil
    16 Rob Holding
    17 Alex Iwobi
    29 Granit Xhaka


    Petr Čech (GK) 33
    Olivier Giroud 12
    Theo Walcott 14
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 15
    Nacho Monreal 18
    Shkodran Mustafi 20
    Mohamed Elneny 35

    The officials are all from Portugal, hopefully they will not be POR.


  4. But really good to give Holding a game in my view, and to allow Lukas to find his feet with the team.

    Didn’t mean it Gord and Andrew. Honest. Thanks for the under 19s report Andrew.

  5. thanks for the quick update Andrew, really sad news for the youngsters. by the way’ looking forward for tonite last CL group match n all the best to all the Gunners on duty for today’s match. com’on Arsenal

  6. I was only in Spain for four days with the dance club. We amazed the residents by jiving in a bar at 2am to a Showaddywaddy tribute band, and then came home.

    As for that bloody Mr Wenger don’t you dare get me started. I mean we are bloody second. Second! And we should have had at least 10 against State Aid united. And everyone is injured all the time. And we just put out teams of kids. And he won’t spend any money….

    Ahhhh… the nurse has just come in with my injection. That’s better.

  7. Now here’s a thing. I’ve been complaining that the Independent reported the wrong kick of times for a couple of Arsenal matches this season.

    What they have done today is got all of the kick off times wrong for this saturday.

    Just scroll down to

    “Premier League Fixtures 2016/17”

    What larks eh!

  8. Four days on the beach in Spain, eh?

    Well, we are just starting a cold spell here. It is -20C at the moment, with winds to 20 kph. A couple of times this week, we expect lows to -35C.

    I hope it isn’t that cold in Basel/Basle.


  9. Sad the youngsters have exited their own Europe competition just as the Arsenal backup team have exited their own competition of the English League Cup too. But they will still competitively be playing in the Under 18 and the Premier League 2 competitions. So they should thank God for keeping them actively competitive. Otherwise, they would have gone into redundancy. Our youth teams should endeavour to remain in all of their own competitions to the very end when next they are playing in them.

    I think I’ve posted my own starts and bench before for our Basel match on this site in the article posing that ran before the referee review of Arsenal vs Bournemouth match article. But I think I was a bit late in posting that my comment starts and bench as I was stopping in my typing to attend to other things and in the process of doing that, the article trending time I think timed out. Hence, I am repeating my starts & bench once again for this our Ucl match away to FC Basel as below.

    My starts:
    Paulista Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Iwobi? Xhaka
    Walcott Ozil Oxchambo

    My bench:
    Cech Niles Holding Gibbs Elneny Ramsey Giroud.

    One surprise starts change I’ve made to my starts is my starting Iwobi as DM for this match. The reason I’ve done this is because I noticed in our last PL game away to the Hammers I saw Iwobi has the attributes to become a top DM for Arsenal if Le Prof agreed to convert him to take up that role. Iwobi can efficiently tackle, block and intercept the opposition player’s either running with the ball or making a pass. But what and what I’ve not definitely known about him are: can he win a ground and aerial battles efficiently too. And has he the optimal game stamina of 120 minutes plus to last him in a game that went into extra-time/penalty shoot out without stuttering? And can he head the ball to his intended mate with pinpoint accuracy? And can he shoot the ball very powerfully when necessary to do so and with precision accuracy to hit the back of the opponent’s net? But he has the right body frame and height to play as DM for Arsenal imho.

    I know Le Prof will not start him as DM in tonight’s game but rather start Elneny as DM alongside Xhaka as deeplying. But with this my aforesaid vision, I want Le Prof to consider converting Iwobi to DM for Arsenal if he’s convinced Iwobi can do it successfully as he has successfully converted LeCoq to become one.

  10. really nice touch from Arsenal n Basel to let Xhaka’s brothers lead the 2 clubs out from the tunnel

  11. Hmmn, Le Prof has beaten me to it in his starts to mine by 5 and also beat me to it in his bench to my own by the same 5. But one think we have in common is his 18 match day squad for this match is the same thing with my own. It’s only I missed putting the players correctly as he has preferred to do.

  12. 2-0. I may have got this wrong but I think there were 27 passes leading up to that goal. And PSG are 1-0 down.

  13. I’m trying to follow commentary, but it is really stupid. You would think someone form M$ programmed it.

    But, it sounds like Lucas and Gibbs are having a good night.

    Keep it up guys, only 40 more to go!


  14. Good to see you on the live thread Tony. Your input is welcome and it also stops the trolling

  15. I remembered again, and that is a much better commentary than UEFA.con is doing.

    Now, if we could get rid of the ….


  16. what the fock with this guy n his trolling. no want is trolling him, here at UA people say it as they see it plus people here already knew what type of person this guy really is, a fraud who think he is better than anyone else n think people troll him as he call it cos he is smarter than everyone. get the fock out of here

  17. I’m not comfortable with this idea of always passing out from the back. Especially when we don’t have Santi in the side who can wriggle out of tight situations

  18. LiveScore possession stats for Arsenal (sums to 100%)
    5 78
    10 76
    15 67
    20 69
    25 62
    30 60
    35 57
    40 58
    45 53

    Granit’s borther is sure getting a lot of mention in the commentary. I think the only person that hasn’t tripped him or he hasn’t tripped is ….


  19. Does anyone know why we get good replays of all incidents(goals, fouls etc) in CL and not so much in PL?
    I would think that they would use the same technology, especially as it’s the same companies videoing and broadcasting the match.

  20. Yommex
    But to boot the ball out usually loses it.
    Yet i know what you mean, one mistake and…

  21. Guys, re trolls…

    Walter and I monitor the site as much as we can but I go to the home games and a few away, and Walter has Arsenal Belgium to look after, so we can’t always be monitoring all the time.

    But if you have a problem, just email me the troll’s name and the date and time of the post you found offensive and I will investigate and either warn, put into permanent moderation, or ban, depending on what is said.

    Email me at – but do remember I need the details of when so I can look at the comment in context. We do take action, but we’ve got over 5 million views a year so it is quite a task.

  22. Our hopes have incredibly risen high in the 1st half of this match. But will our hopes be realised at the end of this match? Let’s be praying and keep hoping they will.

  23. Come on Razgrad!

    Oh my, it’s that man Lucas again. But, somehow Gibbs doesn’t seem to be involved this time. 🙂


  24. Good to see you could make it 13.

    Al, all I have in my commentary is that Ozil assisted. What was special about it?


  25. It was an outrageous reverse pass, Gord, fooled two defenders and keeper leaving Iwobi totally unmarked.

  26. 12 goals in the last 3 first team games Not too bad. Thank goodness we didnt sign Vardy

  27. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

    We are on our way to the anual meet up with Bayern Munich then…

  28. If we’d really tried to sign him, Vardy……we just dodged a bullet!!…no. we dodged an intercontinental ballistic missile there

  29. I hope we are not about to get complacent. Our defending has been slack since the changes were made

  30. LiveScore reports 36,000 at the game. Off to Wikipedia:

    > The capacity was therefore reduced to 38,512[1] for Swiss Super League matches or 37,500 seats for international matches

    It would appear the game isn’t sold out?


  31. The only thing Stewart Robson is good for, is feeding worms.

    Come on Giroud and/or Walcott, more goals please. Or any other gunner, I’m not fussy.


  32. @Yommex,

    Well something was, until we scored 2 goals…..they had to play for a European qualification…I mean for spursday night games…

  33. Arsenals passing has been superb. The defending has also been quality apart from the Basel goal that was individual skill by Doumbia.

  34. [sarcasm]
    It was only luck that allowed Basel to beat ManU before. Lowly Arsenal is going to get slaughtered!

    Congratulations Arsenal. It looks like PSG tied it up with the last kick, or so. 6-0 in Kyiv, 4-0 to Barcelona. Low scoring night. 🙂

  35. Well well well, went we told Arsenal are going to be runners up with one match still to play….

    BT sport commentary was by Darren Fletcher and Martin Keown; probably the only commentary I’ve actually listened to the entire match.

  36. Latest report. Man Utd to bid £70 million for Lucas Perez to solve their goal scoring problems when the January transfer window opens. Hahaha

  37. @Va Cong,

    Imagine PSG deliberately throw away the game to finish second and then get Barcelona…

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