Strongest Arsenal Lineup To Face Barcelona: Elneny And Coquelin To Play In The Pivot

After exiting from the FA Cup last weekend, Arsenal will look to overturn a 2 goal deficit when they meet Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. The Gunners played well when these two teams met at the Emirates stadium two weeks back but succumbed to two Lionel Messi goals late in the second half. Other than attempting to turn this tie around, Arsenal’s season rests on resurrecting a title challenge which has seen them fall eight points behind Leicester and six behind Spurs. With Barca registering 4 back to back wins in La Liga after reverse fixture, It will need a heroic effort from Arsenal to prevent Barca from progressing further.

Goalkeeper: David Ospina

The Columbian has done well since he returned to the starting XI, following Petr Cech getting injured. He will need to have the best night of his career if he wants to prevent the MSN from finding the back of the net.

Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Paulista and Per Mertesacker

The slight hope that the fans have from their team of overturning the scoreline is only based on the assumption that the back line manages to deny the fearsome trio upfront of Messi, Neymar and Saurez for the full 90 minutes. Bellerin and Monreal both were rested for the last two cup games but are likely to start on Wednesday. They have been brilliant this season but the next match will be toughest 90 mins they have faced all season. With Koscielny still doubtful for this match, Paulista and Mertesacker should both continue in the middle of the back four. The big German’s lack of speed could be exploited by the Barcelona team, hence Paulista will be in charge of helping out his teammate whenever he can.

Midfielders: Elneny, Coquelin, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Joel Campbell.

Francis Coquelin
Francis Coquelin

Coquelin returned to the starting XI against Watford after serving out a one-match ban and should keep his place in the team for this one. He will be accompanied by Elneny in central midfield, the Egyptian has shown that he could turn out to be a very useful player for Arsenal in years to come but needs to improve his finishing skills a bit, in order to become more threatening. Upfront the mantle of threading the ball through to the forward moving players will be on the shoulders of Mesut Ozil, who earned himself one more assist for the season in the defeat on Sunday. Sanchez will return to his former club’s home ground, hoping to  spoil the party of thousands of fans, who adored him at one point of time. One gets a feeling that with Walcott not firing currently, Wenger might want to gamble with Joel Campbell for this match. The Costa Rican has been the best player for Arsenal on the wings this season and rightly deserves his place in the team.

Striker: Welbeck

If Arsenal are going to create an upset on Wednesday, they will need one quick goal to calm the nerves of the supporters as well as the players. Therefore, Wenger is likely to start with Welbeck, who is currently the most in-form striker Arsenal have right now.

Written by Anurag Singh

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