Arsenal meet Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League knockout stages on Wednesday. Having suffered defeat at the hands of Bayern in 2005, 2013 and 2014 at the same stage of the competition, Arsenal fans everywhere will be nervously watching the match hoping to avoid another elimination at the hands of the German giants.
Arsenal bounced back from consecutive Premier League defeats with a 2-0 victory over Hull at the weekend and hopefully, the confidence gained from the win will give the players added drive on Wednesday night. With that in mind, let’s have a look at a combined XI from the teams employing a 4-3-3 formation.
GK: Manuel Neuer
Granted that Ospina has been putting in a string of good performances between the sticks for us in the Champions League, but Neuer has nine clean sheets in 20 league appearances and the confident German goalkeeper is too good to overlook.
RB: Hector Bellerin
While it is indisputable that Philipp Lahm is one of the greats, accumulating seven Bundesliga titles, six DFB Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup with Bayern and captained Germany to World Cup victory in 2014. When fit, the young, exciting Spanish fullback is by far the best right-back in the Premier League. Bellerin’s pace and attacking threat has excited Arsenal fans since he made his debut, he gets the spot.
CB: Matt Hummels
The impressive centre back’s aerial ability and well-timed tackles will definitely be something our forwards will have to counter. While his usual defensive partner Jerome Boateng is set to miss the clash due to injury, it will be interesting to see if Arsenal can exploit the irregular partnership Hummels will have to form with Javi Martinez. Mustafi has done well for Arsenal this year but Hummels is too good to overlook.
CB: Laurent Koscielny
Easy decision to pick the Frenchman, as the strong centre back has been one of the more consistent and impressive defenders in the league, ignoring the unfortunate tango with Eden Hazard.
LB: David Alaba
It’s not hard to select Alaba, the athletic and powerful versatile player excels in more forward positions for his national team, Austria but still manages to be one of the best fullbacks in the world for his club side.
CM: Arturo Vidal
The Chilean midfield engine is a vital cog in the Bayern machine, his relentless work ethic and tough tackling makes his inclusion in the combined XI line up easy.
CM: Mesut Ozil
While it has been concerning his poor form recently the enigmatic playmaker would excel in a star-studded combined XI. In a team full of quality Ozil wouldn’t feel the pressure to provide every assist.
CM: Granit Xhaka
Hear me out here, when Xhaka stays on his feet and sprays penetrating passes to our forwards he is a formidable midfielder. Unfortunately, the Premier League’s pace has slightly caught out the £30 million player; with a little more experience in the Premier League, he could be a staple in our midfield for years to come.
RW: Arjen Robben
The Dutch winger got himself on the scoresheet on the weekend against Ingolstadt to help push Bayern 7 pts clear in the Bundesliga. While still 33-years-old, the speedster manages to be a threat to almost any defence he faces. Theo Walcott has had a good season but Robben surpasses him in just about every aspect of their comparative games.
ST: Robert Lewandowski
It’s not really a contest to choose him as the lone striker with 23 goals in 29 games this season to further bolster the striker’s reputation as one of the best strikers in the world.
LW: Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez is on fire this season, having scored his 17th goal of the season against Hull on the weekend I’m sure he’s itching to get on the scoresheet again. He takes the final spot at left-wing although he has played most of the season through the middle.
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