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The Worrying Stats That Show Why Arsenal Can’t Take Victory Over Basel For Granted

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13: Arsenal players pose for photos during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal take on FC Basel in the Champions League tonight, looking to build on the impressive 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in their first game.

That stalemate in Paris, in what was arguably going to be their toughest tie in the whole group stage, has probably made the Gunners favourites to top the group – at the very least, it won’t be the foregone conclusion it was last year when Bayern Munich dominated.

As such, and given how much their form has improved in recent weeks, the assumption from many (not just Arsenal fans, but outsiders too) will be that victory over their Swiss opponents at the Emirates tonight will be something of a formality.

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal holds off Marquinhos of PSG during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal FC at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

However, history suggests that this will not be the case. Basel are notoriously difficult to beat for English sides, and if Arsenal do win against them, they will achieve something no other English club has managed in the Champions League:

Basel are unbeaten in England in the Champions League. In that time they won at Stamford Bridge and twice drawn at Old Trafford and Anfield.

(The good news for Arsenal here though is that they have played in England five times in the UEFA Cup/Europa League and lost on four occasions.)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Fabian Frei (R) of FC Basel celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Liverpool and FC Basel 1893 at Anfield on December 9, 2014 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

In fact, their Champions League record against English sides in general is highly impressive. Their 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United in November 2002 is the last time they lost to a Premier League side in Europe’s premier club competition.

Since that game, they have faced Man United three more times (one win, two draws), Liverpool twice (one win, one draw) and Chelsea twice (two wins).

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Willian of Chelsea is challenged by Kay Voser of Basel during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Basel 1893 and Chelsea at St. Jakob-Park on November 26, 2013 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Overall their Champions League record against English teams reads:

Played: 10  Won: 4  Drawn: 5  Lost: 1

The moral of the story appears to be, if you’re and English team playing against FC Basel, it’s probably best that you do it in the Europa League.

Incidentally, Arsenal’s record against Swiss teams should restore some of that confidence: played 4, won 4.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.