Arsenal travel to Basel this week for the final group match in this season’s Champions League. The north Londoners know they have to win if they are to finish top of the group.
Even then, they are reliant on Paris St Germain failing to beat Ludogorets Razgrad in the Parc Des Princes.
Here are five reasons Arsenal will win on Tuesday.
- They Have To Win
Anything less isn’t good enough. On Saturday evening, they stepped onto the turf at the Olympic Stadium knowing that they had to win to keep pace with Chelsea in the title race.
And win they did, quite comfortably. Alexis Sanchez was on fire, a hat-trick of the highest quality and generally, a stonking performance all round.
Arsenal have to win. They could draw and still finish top but that’s leaving too much to chance. PSG could slip up and draw but losing to Ludogorets? That would be the ultimate insult to their reputation.
- Basel Lost At The Weekend
Yes, 3 – 1 at Young Boys Bern which in the context of scandal surrounding English football makes them the most inappropriately named club yet.
It might be a reality check for Basel who are running away with the Swiss title. Defeat left them a paltry twelve points clear at the top and there’s a sense that things are a little too easy for them domestically, leaving them at a disadvantage when the quality of opposition is raised.
- Basel Can’t Afford To Lose
Basel must win to guarantee finishing above Ludogorets. They could take a risk and aim for a point, fairly safe in the knowledge that the Bulgarians will lose but…
It’s that doubt, that necessity to get points, which hands Arsenal the advantage. Basel will have to push forward and leave themselves open to the counter-attack which as West Ham United will testify, is a dangerous thing to do.
- Arsenal Have Won Every Match Against Swiss Sides
Played 5, won 5. Grasshoppers Zurich 3 – 0 at Highbury, 2 – 0 in Zurich; FC Thun, 1 – 0 in Thun, 2 – 1 at Highbury and most recently, Basel 2 – 0 at the Emirates.
I’m sure Basel will point out that they have beaten English opposition five times at home. Yes, they have and they have also lost four times as well.
And frankly, is it worth shouting about your home record when the English teams who beat you includes Fulham? Manchester United, Newcastle United and Chelsea are the other three.
There you go. No problems, Arsenal win all the way.
- Granit Xhaka Has Never Lost A Match Against His Brother
It’s true, or maybe it isn’t true throughout their careers. Who knows but then it’s certainly true for 2016. Granit was a member of the Swiss team which beat Taulant’s Albania 1 – 0 at Euro 2016. Fair play for Ma Xhaka who wore a half ‘n’ half shirt – and it’s the only time I can think wearing one is evenly vaguely acceptable – for the occasion.
And then there was Arsenal’s 2 – 0 win over Basel two months ago.
So there you have it, five reasons why Arsenal will win on Tuesday. And I didn’t even get to the only reason which matters: we’ll win because we’re Arsenal.