So, there was understandably a little trepidation when Arsenal drew the boys from Basel in this year’s Champions League.
Coquelin’s three-week recuperation period means a return to the starting line-up for Granit Xhaka, who will face brother Taulant for the second time in three months after the two siblings turned out on either side of Switzerland’s meeting with Albania at Euro 2016.
Arsene Wenger is aiming to take another step towards guiding Arsenal to the top of their Champions League group when they welcome Basle to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
Basel have only lost one of their 10 Champions League encounters with English clubs (W4 D5), that was against Manchester Utd at home in November 2002 (1-3).
Yet, despite the absence of the suspended Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin, sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring pull, Wenger believes that his side are in a better position than for some time to take on such canny opponents.
The Gunners drew 1-1 with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain in their opening group game, while FC Basel were also held by Ludogorets.
“The win over Chelsea puts us in a consistent way”.
But Wenger admitted several years ago he had ignored the FA’s overtures once before and, on the evidence of Arsenal’s burgeoning revival this season, the poisoned chalice of managing England is extremely unlikely to be a tempting prospect.
“It should be a short-term injury because the scan was quite positive”.
But Arsenal boss Wenger wants to see the former West Ham, Sunderland and Bolton manager defend his comments and has called for a measured response.
And Wenger would like to see Walcott back in the England squad. I’m going to keep working really hard because there’s competition for places when you’re at such a top club like Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger challenged his side to prove they can produce the level of performance they showed against Chelsea again and they didn’t let him down.
Theo Walcott has transformed himself into his old self this season.
However, despite the relatively short time that Coquelin will be forced to miss the action in Arsenal colours, Xhaka now has almost a month to prove his worth and stake a starting claim in Arsene Wenger’s team.