With the Premier League title all but over and a coach closer to the exit door than ever before, there is no better time for Arsenal to finally put a stamp on Europe. This could start with a good result away to German giants Bayern Munich. However, we can expect a more pragmatic approach for the Gunners in order to finish the first leg still alive iin the tie, so here is our predicted XI, displayed in a 4-3-3.
GK: David Ospina
No surprise here, Arsène Wenger will keep his promise and start the Colombian goalkeeper after some very impressive performances earlier this season, we all remember his match-saving game at the Parc des Princes.
RB: Hector Bellerin
He came back from his concussion last Saturday and came through the game well. He will most likely retain his spot and look to face Douglas Costa one more time after their duel at the Emirates in October 2015, Bellerin is a key player for the Gunners.
CB: Shkodran Mustafi
Another definite starter in Arsenal’s defence, the German international will have to be more disciplined in his positioning than in recent weeks in order to keep the Bayern offensive armada at bay; his ability with the ball will be essential in Arsenal building up from the back.
CB: Laurent Koscielny
Le Capitaine. No doubt he’ll start after missing the last game at the Allianz Arena back in 2015 due to injury. He’s been the most reliable Arsenal player this season and will need to put in a massive performance if Arsenal are to stand a chance in Munich.
LB: Nacho Monreal
Without doubt the position with the biggest question mark but we feel the Spaniard will get the nod ahead of Gibbs after being rested last weekend. Against Arjen Robben, Nacho will need to be very solid defensively while also getting forward on the break.
CM: Francis Coquelin
His place could or should be under threat with Elneny’s return but Arsène Wenger will probably keep his faith in the Frenchman, for the better or the worse. Coquelin is the only real defensive-minded player in Arsenal’s midfield and thus, often gets the nod to provide some steel in the engine room. However, with Vidal’s presence, he’ll have to do a lot better than in his three previous games, that are easily amongst his worst at Arsenal.
CDM: Granit Xhaka
Back after serving his four-game ban, Xhaka should go back into the XI in a deep-lying playmaker, in a game where his range of passing will be a massive asset for the Gunners. However, he’ll need to be disciplined as Arsenal cannot afford to play with 10 against a team like Bayern.
CM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Adapted to his new box-to-box role in the absence of Cazorla and Ramsey, the Ox should retain his starting spot in midfield and will hope to continue his very good form against a team that could miss Xabi Alonso’s control. Bayern do have the very promising Joshua Kimmich to replace the former Spain international but the Spaniard will be sorely missed if does indeed have an injury.
RW: Theo Walcott
Very close call between Walcott and Welbeck but Theo’s impact and overall fitness should warrant him a starting spot over Welbeck. He’ll look to put Alaba under pressure and help Bellerin defensively while also targeting his 100th goal for Arsenal, with no better stage that the Champions League to score it.
CF: Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal’s biggest offensive threat this season should retain his starting spot over Olivier Giroud, as his pace and aggressive pressing could force a slow defence made of Martinez and Hummels into mistakes. He also needs to be less selfish, however, and not try to be the hero every time he’s on the ball, if Arsenal’s front three keep moving between the lines throughout the game, they could pose serious problems to Bayern.
LW: Mesut Özil
The maestro will not be dropped for such a big occasion and will have a wider role with a more compact midfield behind him to provide cover, there again he must still work hard in defence. He’ll look to regain his form after a disappointing game against Hull.
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