ARSENAL look to keep the pressure on PSG when they visit Basel in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) analyses the game for us.
Basel v Arsenal | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport 2
Arsenal come into this final group game level on points with PSG in Group A, but in all honesty the group looks sewn up. The 2-2 draw between the sides at the Emirates two weeks ago has given PSG the nod in the head to head and top spot very much lies with the French club.
Arsenal require more points than PSG on Tuesday evening to win the group but when you consider Unai Emery’s side are at home to Ludogorets that task looks beyond them.
Basel find themselves in a very similar position to Arsenal, but their target is a third place finish and a slot in the Europa League Last 32. Like Arsenal with PSG, Basel drew twice with their rivals Ludogorets but conceded more away goals meaning they’re beneath them in the table.
So that’s the context of the match. It’s not entirely straight-forward but one would assume that PSG will be too strong at home for Ludogorets, essentially meaning that Arsenal’s task here is redundant.
As they’re not English, Basel will probably be keen to get into the Europa League to prolong their European season (they’re 12 points clear in the Swiss league) so the stakes feel a lot higher for them.
Arsene Wenger has talked of assessing the PSG score at half-time on Tuesday and it may be that he starts with a weaker side and may throw key players on in the unlikely event the French side are struggling.
While failure to beat Ludogorets in Switzerland may be what ultimately costs Basel a place in the Europa League, their home form in Europe is not to be dismissed.
Seven wins out of eight at home domestically, that’s been backed up by solid Champions League performances in Switzerland in recent seasons. Indeed, you have to go back to 2011 to find the last time they lost at home by more than one goal.
Since that 2011 loss to Benfica, Basel have gone P18 W9 D5 L4 at home in the Champions League. Their only defeats in the last couple of years came against Real Madrid (0-1) and PSG (1-2) while victories have been against the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United.
It’s 11 seasons since Arsenal went unbeaten through a Champions League group so I’m happy to suggest that may extend to 12 after Tuesday night.
With Arsenal virtually locked in a dead rubber here and showing poor form in these kind of games in the past I’m happy to back Basel +0.25 on Tuesday at evens. A draw will see a half-profit returned to me.
Basel v Arsenal – Basel +0.25 (Evens Bet365)