Arsenal: Basel coach discusses upcoming tie; Xhaka on life in England; Sanchez contract talk latest
Arsenal have their final Champions League group game tonight against FC Basel in Switzerland. The Gunners need a better result than PSG to top the group, which looks unlikely, but in football anything is possible. Arsene Wenger will demand that his side finish the group stage with a win, maintaining their positive momentum ahead of a busy Christmas period. The Swiss side’s coach Urs Fischer has been talking about the game and suggested that Arsenal were dominated by West Ham at the weekend.
“I did see the 5-1 match – West Ham dominated that match. What I could see is that Arsenal have really dynamic movement and good forward runs.
“They are a very efficient squad. In the first half it was balanced, in the second half West Ham were the better team and were dominating the match. But then Arsenal scored and it changed so fast and made them pay.”
These are interesting opinions, but I don’t think they are true. Arsenal were by far the better team against West Ham and dominated the majority of the play. He is correct in his comments about Arsenal’s dynamic movement and I expect that to be the difference tonight. The English side will have too much for their Swiss opponents and should finish the group with a victory.
Granit Xhaka will be returning to his former club tonight and he has been discussing the start to his Arsenal career with Sky Sports. It has taken him some time to adjust to the Premier League, but that is normal for a player moving to a new country. He hasn’t been able to hold down a regular starting place since joining, but he is emerging as one now.
“Well, actually, it’s normal when you come to a new club and country. You need to get used to the language, the philosophy of the team, the squad, the coach.
“But I do feel very happy and comfortable here, and I know the potential I have. In football you just have to develop yourself.”
The Swiss international is going to be a key player for Arsenal over the coming months as he is their most complete midfielder. They have had problems finding the right combination in the centre of the park after the injury to Santi Cazorla, but Xhaka needs to be one of those that start. He is able to break up play and has the technical ability to launch attacks. At the time of his signing, many thought he was a good one for Arsenal and I expect him to show why over the busy Christmas period.
One of the issues facing the Gunners at the moment is the long term futures of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Arsene Wenger has been discussing the former in his pre-match press conference and stated that the Chilean won’t be motivated by finances alone.
“Well, I would like to say the luxury of the modern game should be it’s not only about the money, because the players make anyway wherever they play good money at this level,”
“I believe personally, and maybe I am a bit naive, that it’s more about getting to meet the player’s needs. That’s more about the way the club has values, the way the club has ambition, the way the club respects the players.”
It seems that Wenger knows that Arsenal must show ambition over the next six months to get both players to sign contract extensions. Sanchez is a player that wants to be competing at the highest level and winning major honours. Arsenal have not been able to do that for a long time, but progress is being made in the right direction and a league title challenge this season could be enough to convince both Sanchez and Ozil to commit to the club.
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