The big question for Arsène Wenger on Sunday morning is whether or not he thinks Arsenal can win in Barcelona.
Can the Gunners go to Camp Nou and score twice, even three times, without conceding? Probably not, so he has to start his strongest side in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Watford.
With the boss, however, I expect him to almost play a full-strength side at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. It’ll look complete, just with a couple of pieces missing.
There’s still no Petr Čech, so David Ospina will start in goal once again. In front of him, Per Mertesacker is supposedly ok and set to play just a few days after suffering a concussion against Hull City.
Both Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny have missed full training all week, and Wenger will be tempted to gamble but I am hoping common sense prevails. Arsenal can’t afford to lose more players for extended periods: give Calum Chambers the nod at centre-half. Héctor Bellerín is back in the squad again, so Chambers isn’t needed at right-back. Left-back is a toss up between Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs but if Monreal is fully fit it has to go to him.
In midfield, Wenger has lost Aaron Ramsey and won’t want to start Mathieu Flamini in such a big game. That means Francis Coquelin comes back in after his suspension and partners Mohamed Elneny. The third central player is a tough one. Alex Iwobi has played every game in the cup from the start so far. However, Mesut Özil is available. Does Wenger keep his faith in Iwobi and rest Özil for midweek? In a quarter-final, I really hope not.
Theo Walcott impressed on Tuesday after a long spell of wayward form, but I still don’t expect him to start. Olivier Giroud did enough to start up front again, Joel Campbell will get the place on the right and Alexis Sánchez will, of course, play on the opposite wing.
That would leave Walcott and Danny Welbeck fresh for Barcelona and on the bench this weekend if we need them.