Arsenal vs FC Basel: Champions League Predicted Starting XI

Arsenal, Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Francis Coquelin of Arsneal (L) is replaced by Granit Xhaka of Arsenal (R) during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal face off with Swiss champions FC Basel on Wednesday night at the Emirates. Here’s Pain In the Arsenal’s predicted starting eleven for the match.

Arsene Wenger‘s final match before his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager comes at home in the Champions League against Swiss side FC Basel.

The Gunners are fresh off a resounding 3-0 win against Chelsea, but Basel present an entirely new challenge for an undoubtedly fatigued side.

What can Arsenal fans that have never watched FC Basel make of this match?

The RotBlau have a fantastic record against Premier League sides in European competition.

They’ve won four of their last five matches against Premier League sides (most recently Chelsea and Liverpool), and they have won all nine of their domestic league matches in 2016-17.

Arsenal, in contrast to their Premiership rivals, have won all four of their matches against Swiss sides in European competition. However, none of those matches were against Basel and the champions of the Swiss league are not to be underestimated.

Basel drew 1-1 with Ludogorets Razgrad in Switzerland last time they played in Europe, and Arsenal also drew 1-1 with PSG. Ludogorets and PSG face off in Bulgaria on Wednesday, and PSG are favorites for that match despite not being on top form.

Should PSG win, the team to come out on top in this game will be in a favorable position within the group.

Here is the predicted starting XI for the match.

Goalkeeper: David Ospina

David Ospina has been selected as the cup competition keeper, and he’ll retain his place after a solid showing against PSG. The Colombian will have to remain alert – let’s not forget that last time he made mistakes against Olympiakos.

Arsenal, Shkodran Mustafi

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 24: Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal challenges Diego Costa of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Right back: Hector Bellerin

The pace of this Spanish full-back could rival that of Olympic sprinters, but he has the stamina to do it every three/four days. He played a very good game against Chelsea and Mathieu Debuchy is nowhere near getting a first-team place off of him.

Center Back: Laurent Koscielny & Shkodran Mustafi

Winning runs start at the back, so if Arsene wants to stake a claim for the title his central defense partnership has to be consistent.

Gabriel Paulista doesn’t have Shkodran Mustafi‘s quality and certainly not Koscielny‘s. Rob Holding has never played European football, so there seems no feasible choice other than to keep this partnership.

Left Back: Nacho Monreal

In the future, Monreal’s legs may well prevent him from playing two matches in one week. But for now, he’s too good to be resting right now.

Kieran Gibbs has now featured as a substitute, but he came on as a left winger and Monreal was left on the field. That makes us think it has to be Monreal again tonight.

Arsenal, Mesut Ozil

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 13: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal FC reacts during the Champion’s League match against Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Central Midfield: Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka has a brother who plays for FC Basel, in case you haven’t heard already. So Wenger has to play him.

On a serious note, Xhaka is starting to earn his place in the Arsenal lineup. Coquelin‘s injury opens up a spot in the starting lineup and who better to take his place than the new summer signing.

Central Midfield: Santi Cazorla

It is possible that Arsene Wenger will take a chance and play Mo El Neny against his former club, but the Spaniard is putting together a run of strong performances. Perhaps the coach will rest him against Burnley at the weekend.

Central Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil

Brother Mesut is (sort of) the only player who can play in this position for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey‘s fitness, Wilshere‘s loan move and Cazorla‘s move back to central midfield has opened up the role for Ozil.

Aside from his game against Hull he has been very good all season, and he has yet to stake his claim on a European match this season. Now’s the time, Mesut.

Arsenal, Lucas Perez

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Lucas Perez of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the EFL Cup Third Round match between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal at City Ground on September 20, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Right Wing: Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott‘s form has been very good of late, but it takes more performances to shut people up for real.

His work rate was outstanding against Chelsea, but Basel may sit deep for a large part of the game on Wednesday and that involves another level of technical quality.

Everybody wants Theo to thrive once they see how good he can be when on form, so this seems like a great time to go on an outstanding run.

Left Wing: Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi had an outstanding match against Chelsea and even though he was subbed off, he looked ready for another 90 minutes of running.

If his free role is truly on the left wing, that’s what position he is “starting” at. In truth, he roams around the attacking area. Regardless, he’s got to start right now: he’s simply better than the Ox.

Striker: Lucas Perez

Alexis has played the striker role in recent matches, but this match could require a more conventional striker. Who could be better for the job than Lucas Perez?

A week ago the Spaniard scored two goals against Nottingham Forest, and with good support he can do it again.

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