After a two-month hiatus, a tricky return awaits Arsenal in the Champions League against Bayern Munich this week.
Having prevailed with a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Hull City on Saturday, Arsène Wenger will be quietly confident that his side can deliver a positive result at the Allianz Arena although there is a reason that Bayern are favourites when it comes to Champions League betting.
It’s unlikely that Wenger will make many changes to his starting eleven for this fixture, although David Ospina is set for a recall. The Colombian has asserted himself well in Europe this term and will be keen to get another opportunity.
Nacho Monreal could also return to the starting eleven despite a lack of form this term, although it’d be disappointing to drop Kieran Gibbs given his solid defensive showings when called upon.
Olivier Giroud will be hoping to feature too, having been an unused substitute this past weekend.
Granit Xhaka is also available.
Possible XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ox; Walcott, Welbeck, Özil; Sánchez.
Arsenal will go into Wednesday’s tie with renewed optimism as Bayern themselves haven’t had it easy this term. Unpredictable as the Gunners are, Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggled in their group and they’re only now starting to build up momentum in the Bundesliga.
Stoppage-time strikes from Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben prevented them from dropping points away at Ingolstadt on Saturday. It’ll be that type of grit and determination that supporters will hope Arsenal show away from home, especially given the magnitude of the tie.
Away goals are essential in two-legged ties and despite their most recent encounter ending a 5-1 drubbing, Arsenal have battled hard in recent seasons against better opposition.
It’s important for them to start well and undoubtedly frustrate the hosts, who pose a goal threat across the pitch and have eight first-team players with three or more goals (all comps) this term.
Franck Ribery is expected to miss out, as is Jerome Boateng (shoulder) but Xabi Alonso (knee) made a miraculous return to training one day after being injured.
Possible XI (4-3-3): Neuer; Lahm, Martinez, Hummels, Alaba; Kimmich, Thiago, Vidal; Robben, Muller, Lewandowski.