COMMENT By Tony Hughes
Arsene Wenger could make up to four changes for Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Basel despite the Arsenal masterclass against Chelsea.
With the attacking players in such outstanding form in the last three matches, the path back to the team for Olivier Giroud is likely to once again be blocked.
That is also likely to be the case for summer signing Lucas Perez, even though he served notice of his potential with a clinical double against Nottingham Forest last week.
However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could come into the reckoning as a possible replacement for Alex Iwobi, who played 69 minutes of the destruction of Chelsea.
Wenger is loathe to rotate his defenders in the early months of a season and is likely to stick with the back four who contributed to Arsenal’s clean sheet last weekend.
The Arsenal boss will be forced into at least one change in central midfield as a knee injury sustained by Francis Coquelin in the first half against Chelsea will break up his favoured partnership.
With Granit Xhaka not so much knocking on the door as banging it down, Santi Cazorla could also be rested against the Swiss opponents in favour of ex-Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
A fourth change could be in goal, with Petr Cech demoted for a second consecutive Champions League match to the bench in favour of his deputy David Ospina.
The Colombia responded to the surprise call-up in the opening group match against Paris Saint-Germain with an outstanding display that ensured his team returned to England with a valuable point.
Alexis Sanchez has taken on the central striker role for six of the team’s seven Premier League and Champions League matches this season and his mobility, inventiveness and clinical finishing could mean Wenger sticks with him for a clash in which slick counter-attacks are likely to be key to Arsenal’s chances of a win.
In other Arsenal team news, Wenger is ready to let this young star out on loan to get more first-team football.