Arsenal celebrated Arsene Wenger's 20th anniversary at the club this weekend in style by beating Chelsea 3-0, their first victory over the Blues since 2011. It was a pertinent reminder of Arsene's legacy - the Gunners played with pace and passed with elegance. Ignoring recent banter, Arsene has created a team that has been one of the best in the world to watch for years now. They'll welcome Basel to London with the intent of furthering that legacy. Getting knocked out in the Round of 16 is the curse they need to break, and Group A currently has all four teams on one point each, making three points for either of this team a huge boost. FC Basel won both of their games in the Swiss Super League this week and sit on a perfect 27 points from 9 matches with second place Young Boys at barely over half that with 14 points. It's safe to say that the Swiss side have had plenty of time to prepare for this match. Basel will look to attacking midfield duo of Renato Steffen and Birkir Bjarnason (who scored two goals for Iceland at the Euros) to test an Arsenal defense that is just finding their feet.
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.
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.
Recorded the second-highest assist tally in EPL history last season with 19.
Mustafi calmly marshaled a German defense that only allowed three goals in six matches at Euro 2016.