Arsenal still have a chance to finish first, but need PSG to drop points against Ludogorets. If both squads win, regardless of scorelines, PSG will win the group due to a superior away goal advantage in their head-to-head matchups against Arsenal. Basel meanwhile, are level on points with Ludogorets and must better their result to finish third and move into the Europa League. They won’t be optimistic after Arsenal demolished West Ham over the weekend, scoring five as Alexis Sanchez grabbed a hat-trick. Olivier Giroud is planned to return from injury and could get the start. Aside from that, it’s unknown how Arsenal will line up with progress guaranteed. With Ludogorets certainly capable of nabbing points from PSG, you would suspect Arsene Wenger will show intent to win the group and not put out a weaker side. The first matchup between these sides ended 2-0 to Arsenal from a first-half Theo Walcott brace in London. Basel sit 15 points clear at the top of the table in Switzerland, so moving into the Europa League is certainly their primary focus now. Should Arsenal field a strong side, however, the Gunners biggest embarrassment of the day will be Wenger’s jacket zipping ability.
FC Basel have fed the Swiss national side most of their recent stars - Granit Xhaxa, Xherdan Shaqiri and Switzerland’s all-time leading scorer Alexander Frei all got their start at St. Jakob Park. After a year in the Europa league, the Swiss champions for seven consecutive years qualified for the group stage and will look to make it to the round of 16 for the third time in their history. FCB will look to Austrian Marc Janko to lead them after scoring 21 goals in all competitions last season. With PSG and Arsenal looming, FC Basel will need some heroic performances to make it out of the group this time around.
With Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez coming in to cover long term deficits at center back and forward, Arsene Wenger has no excuses left. While getting out of their group in the Champions League is now routine, the Gunners have exited in the second round for six consecutive years. Much like their EPL title drought, there is a perception that Arsenal are in a rut - incredibly talented, but struggling to reach the heights you’d expect from a squad of their talent. With this being the final year of Wenger’s contract, however, perhaps there will be a sense that being very good is no longer good enough.
Scored 16 goals in 20 league matches last season.
An Australian passport holder - Traoré once held ambitions to play for the Socceroos, but has since appeared for Côte d'Ivoire.