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Predicted Arsenal XI to play Bayern Munich - The Ox to start, Podolski to miss out

Match to be played on Wednesday February 19 2014 at 19:45 GMT. Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal face a difficult challenge to knock reigning European champions Bayern Munich out of the Champions League.

That challenge starts this week and if the eleven players Arsene Wenger puts out can take a good result back to the Allianz Arena, their progression to the quarter-finals will become more realistic over something more hopeful.

The Gunners will be confident after a good performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup, which will put several stars in a positive frame of mind for this game.

Here’s the side Wenger could go with.

GK – Wojciech Szczesny

Lukasz Fabianski was superb against Liverpool but Szczesny should come back into the team. Arsenal lose nothing in terms of shot stopping ability and quality.

RB – Bacary Sagna

Sagna has been one of the most consistent right-backs in the Premier League this season. He’s a very important player for Arsenal because he’ll have to get forward and provide extra width when he can.

CB – Per Mertesacker

The German adjusted well to cope with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez yesterday and he’ll have to be fully focused throughout this game. He needs to drop off early and quickly because Bayern will try to exploit his lack of pace.

CB – Laurent Koscielny

The Frenchman and Mertesacker have a very good partnership which will be fully tested in this game. His pace and ability to press strikers physically will be valuable.

LB – Kieran Gibbs

The reason Gibbs may start ahead of Nacho Monreal is because he’s quicker. There will be times when the Gunners are pressed back in their own half and Gibbs’ pace will be crucial on the counter attack.

RM – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain was arguably the best player on the pitch yesterday against Liverpool. His ability to attack as a winger, and also to play centrally, makes him a versatile threat for this game.

DM – Mathieu Flamini

Flamini’s job is simple; get on top of the Bayern Munich midfield, be aggressive and break up the play where possible.

CM – Jack Wilshere

Wilshere has the ability to pull the strings in the middle and Wenger will also remind him of the fact that Pep Guardiola once said he was only good enough for Barcelona’s B team.

AM – Mesut Ozil

The worry for Arsenal is how tired Ozil has looked in recent matches. However, he can take Bayern apart with a single pass and can always be taken off later in the game.

LM – Santi Cazorla

Harsh on Lukas Podolski who was superb against Liverpool but Cazorla offers a little more control when in possession. Don’t be surprised if Cazorla moves inside with Podolski coming in at left midfield later in the game.

ST – Olivier Giroud

It’s been quite a weekend for Giroud personally but Arsenal need him to switch back on and focus on this game. He has to do whatever he can to occupy both Bayern Munich centre backs.

image: © markusunger

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