Arsene Wenger’s side will be up against Barcelona at the Emirates on Tuesday evening, as the two sides face off in the knockout stages of the Champions League competition. The two teams have been playing quite well and have not have lost a match in their last five games in all competitions and will want to build on that record further, as they go into this one. The Gunners will have the support of the home fans behind them and will hope to produce a solid performance in north London, prior to the second leg clash at the Camp Nou. The Catalan club have been working really hard under manager Luis Enrique and have been winning a lot of titles as well, along with playing some good quality football.
The visitors will surely want to get the job done prior to the match back home in Spain, as they get all set to make the trip to the London-based club. Arsenal have as usual failed to capitalize on their good start to the Premier League campaign and are now currently placed at third and will want to avoid elimination from the cup competition.
Here is the starting eleven that Wenger could pick for this all important game against the Spanish outfit at home:
Petr Cech will be back at goal replacing his team-mate David Ospina, who had started the game in the FA Cup at the weekend against Hull City. Though Ospina did manage to keep a clean sheet in the game once again, he still does not have the presence of the former Chelsea man in front of goal. Without a doubt, it will be a tough night for the veteran keeper, who has had a good time in recent years against Messi and will be expected to be at his very best, if the home side want to take something away from the game.
The Arsenal back-line will once again consist of a four-man defence, with former Barca man Hector Bellerin on the right and Nacho Monreal on the left wing. Laurent Koscielny will start along with Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defensive line, with Gabriel Paulista out injured and all set to miss this encounter.
In front of the defence, will start the pairing of Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey in the holding midfield role. The duo will be expected to help their team-mates dominate the game from midfield and can hopefully disrupt Barcelona’s passing game in order to do so. Further forward will start the attacking midfield trio of yet another former Barca man Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott from left to right and will be expected to test the opposition defence with some quick aggressive football. The likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are still on the sidelines with injury problems.
Frenchman Olivier Giroud will start as the lone striker leading the Arsenal front-line and can hopefully finish off a few quick chances to give his side the advantage at home.
Here is the starting XI of FC Barcelona:
Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo
Defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta
Strikers: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar