The Gunners are set to face a strong Bayern Munich side on Tuesday evening and they may well have to do so without the help of Laurent Koscielny who remains a serious doubt for the first leg at the Emirates.
It is essential Arsenal keep out the Bundesliga leaders to prevent an away goal advantage before the return tie, and in the absence of the Frenchman, Wenger will have to shuffle the pack with new signing Nacho Monreal unavailable as his participation in the competition with former side Malaga renders him cup-tied.
In midfield the selection is almost automatic you would assume. Cazorla and Wilshere could return to join Arteta in the middle of the park, however Wilshere might look to play a more defensive-minded game to help Arteta shield the defence.
On the wings Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski will highly likely be restored to the lineup with Olivier Giroud up top. The Frenchman adds height to the Gunners not just on attack but for defensive set pieces, so he will be utilized in all areas of the pitch.
- Agent of exiled Mesut Ozil warns Arsenal that the truth will be revealed
- Arsenal overtaken by new frontrunners to sign Houssem Aouar in January
- Ex-Arsenal star favouring a move to America’s MLS to restart career
There are several scenarios that can be investigated, but here is our first chosen lineup:
Jenkinson Mertesacker Sagna Vermaelen (c)
Shifting Vermaelen out to the left sorts the Monreal-absence issue, however with Koscielny absent Sagna would be the only viable option centrally. This would mean youngster Carl Jenkinson will come in on the right against world class talent Franck Ribery, a potential liability. The only other option at right back would be the versatile Francis Coquelin.
Sagna has made a strong case for his inclusion centrally after a stellar performance against Sunderland. He was deployed in the heart of the defence with Kosciely pulling out during the warm up and he could be useful to combat the pace and trickery from Munich’s front line.
The other option is to play Sagna on the left with either Coquelin or Jenkinson on the right allowing Vermaelen to take up his favoured central position. This is perhaps my preferred option as Vermaelen’s experience and knowledge of playing in the middle outweighs Sagna’s.
Also to shield the defence Wenger has the option of slotting in Diaby for Cazorla consequently allowing Wilshere to play the more advanced role which could work well as the Englishman can track back more efficiently than his Spanish counterpart. If the tie started to go pear shaped then Cazorla could be then brought on.
Here is our second suggested lineup:
Jenkinson/Coquelin Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Sagna
What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below..