The Gunners have been dealt a blow with the news that Kieran Gibbs has been ruled out of their last-16 second leg UCL tie with Bayern Munich, however Laurent Koscielny has returned after his hamstring worry.
Wojciech Szczesny is suspended which means Lukasz Fabianski earns another start after playing in the Gunners 4-1 win over Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger is undecided who will replace Gibbs, but the three definite defensive starters are Sagna, Mertesacker and Koscielny. Vermaelen played well against the Toffees at centre back and is the favourite to fill in on the left, however Wenger could opt to play Flamini among the backline and shuffle Sagna to the left.
There’s certainly a case for either scenario, but Vermaelen is not a bad option especially in an attacking sense. He’s a good distributor and defensively is solid.
This takes us to the midfield. Arsenal need to go for it, and one combination that doesn’t work on the road is Arteta and Flamini. At home yes, but away no. Wenger should start Rosicky alongside either of Arteta or Flamini with Mesut Ozil ahead in the No 10 role. Personally I prefer Flamini over Arteta as his combative nature is desirable in a fixture like this, but Wenger will undoubtedly go for Mr reliable Mikel Arteta.
- Vote: Who do you want Arsenal to draw in the Europa League?
- [Team news] Arsenal line up vs Benfica – Odegaard out and Partey fit
- Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s bid to takeover Arsenal ‘edging closer’
Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will occupy the wings with Olivier Giroud spearheading the attack especially after his brace against Everton.
Here is our predicted lineup:
Sagna Merts Kosc Verm
The Ox Cazorla
What are your thoughts and ideas? Comment below..