Wenger confirms key man to miss out against Barcelona

Arsene Wenger Big Coat

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger faces a defensive dilemma against Barcelona on Tuesday, after ruling out Gabriel Paulista through injury.

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker looks set to go head-to-head with the most fearsome front line in Europe after the more mobile Gabriel Paulista was ruled out Tuesday's Champions League tie against Barcelona.

Gabriel has impressed of late, keeping clean sheets in his last two Premier League starts, but manager Arsene Wenger confirmed the Brazilian's absence at a press conference on Monday.

"[Jack] Wilshere, [Santi] Cazorla, [Mikel] Arteta and Gabriel are all out," Wenger was quoted as saying by BBC Sport's rolling news feed at 13:07.

The Frenchman must now decide which of his available players will partner Laurent Koscielny at the Emirates Stadium, with Mertesacker, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal the most likely candidates.

Mertesacker's experience arguably makes him the favourite to start, although the German's lack of pace - which was evidenced by his red card against Chelsea earlier in the month - will no doubt be of concern to the Gunners.

Chambers is certainly no slouch, although a lack of Champions League experience - he has played just eight times in the competition - is likely to see him miss out, with Monreal set to remain at left-back in order to limit the disruption.

Between them, Barcelona's front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have scored 91 goals this season in all competitions, eclipsing Arsenal's entire tally of 61.

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