The Gunners head to Etihad Stadium for what will be one of their toughest ties of the season..Just three days after their 2-0 loss to Napoli.
Manchester City are favourites due to their incredible home record this season (their goal difference is +27) and will be on a high after beating Bayern Munich on Tuesday night despite some rotation.
Like Arsenal, City failed to top their group in the Champions League, and will be looking to close the gap with us, the Premier League leaders.
Wenger will field his strongest possible side, with Wilshere, Ramsey and Walcott all rested for most, if not all, of the tie in Naples on Wednesday night.
We will have to wait for the upcoming team news when Wenger gives his mandatory pre-match press conference, but it appears Bacary Sagna may be unavailable once again, meaning Carl Jenkinson will get the nod at right-back. No offence to the Englishman, but he’s no Bacary and will provide a weakness for City to exploit down their left channel.
The rest of the back line choses itself with Mertesacker and Koscielny forming the central partnership with Kieran Gibbs on the left.
In midfield, for me it has to be Mathieu Flamini to partner Aaron Ramsey. Arteta has looked lethargic of late, over-run against Everton and tired against Napoli leading to his red card which was just plain sloppy.
Mesut Ozil will reprise his role in the hole behind Olivier Giroud.
On the wings it gets slightly tricky. It feels like Walcott should be close to starting especially as he has had more opportunities to train recently after suffering from an illness over a week or so ago. Wenger has tried limited the pressure on the Englishman and has eased him back into the equation. But he has two assists to his name since returning to action and should be in contention to start. My only reservation is starting Walcott could expose Jenkinson even further, whereas Wilshere can provide a bit more cover on the flanks. For this reason I see Walcott coming off the bench later on in the tie.
Santi Cazorla seems nailed on for a starting spot on the left hand side of the midfield. However he needs to up his game after some lackluster performances recently, and Tomas Rosicky is more than capable of filling in.
Jenkinson Merts (c) Kosc Gibbs
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