Arsenal go into their final Champions League group game level on points with group leaders PSG in the race to top the group and get a potentially easier draw in the Round of 16. But they face an uphill task to top the group as although level on points with Unai Emery’s PSG side they have a lesser head to head record.
The fact that they failed to complete the task a fortnight ago when they faced PSG will still be fresh in the memory of Arsene Wenger and he now has to hope that PSG stumble at the final hurdle and that Arsenal are ready to take full advantage of any slip up.
With a second place finish in the group they run the risk of meeting one of the big European teams although at least time they can’t face Bayern Munich who have also been consigned to a runners up spot in their respective group with Atletico Madrid running away with proceedings in Group D.
Tonight they travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel and although the home side sit currently bottom of the table they will still harbour hopes of gaining Europa League qualification. In a similar situation to Arsenal they are currently on the wrong side of a head to head record with Bulgarian side Ludogorets.
Basel will feel that a draw would probably be enough to snatch third what with Ludogorets going up against PSG but that task is easier said than done as Arsenal will travel here on the back of a stunning 5-1 win against West Ham on Saturday evening.
Alexis Sanchez ran riot that evening and scored a sensational hat-trick of goals to take Arsenal second in the Premier League. You could perhaps advocate him being rested for this game but that depends on how seriously Arsene Wenger feels they can still top the group
While there is still a hope then I don’t think it’s in Wenger’s nature to concede second place but he may perhaps feel that it’s better to keep Sanchez fresh for the league campaign and Oliver Giroud could once again be drafted in for a European start.
Arsenal will go into this game as heavy favourites and rightly so with the form that they are in. I think they will have too much in the tank for Basle to deal with and will earn all three points. Unfortunately for them I can’t see them topping the group and unfortunately for Basle it means that they will not be in European action post Christmas for the first time since 2012.