What’s best for Arsenal: Ox, Rosicky or Podolski?
Given Arsenal’s midfield injuries, 10 of Arsene Wenger’s team to play Bayern Munich virtually pick themselves, but who starts from Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski is not so obvious.
What is certain is that Jack Wilshere will be required to play a more disciplined role alongside Mathieu Flamini in comparison to the performance he put in next to Mikel Arteta in the recent 5-1 defeat by Liverpool.
Flamini’s greater defensive attributes and ground coverage will help, but Wilshere will have to play from slightly deeper and ensure he doesn’t get caught spending too long on the ball.
Wilshere’s ability to ride a challenge could be vital though, as if Arsenal can get through Bayern’s first line of pressing, they can get at the back four.
Mesut Ozil has also been guilty of neglecting his defensive work in recent weeks, especially in allowing Steven Gerrard to dictate play from a deep position, and this could hurt the Gunners if Thiago Alcantara is selected to launch attacks from deep.
Santi Cazorla is sure to play in one of the wide areas and he must start from the left, where he will not be forced to track David Alaba up and down the touchline and where his tendency to venture inside will not offer even greater wing space for the adventurous full-back.
This probably rules out the possibility of Podolski starting, leaving Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rosicky to battle it out for a spot on the right and it really comes down to how adventurous Wenger is prepared to be.
Bayern do defend with a very high defensive line and without Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey in particular, Wenger is not swamped with options to gamble at making runs in behind, especially as Olivier Giroud is far from a natural at doing this.
This almost certainly swings the axe in favour of Oxlade-Chamberlain and this would also give Alaba something to think about before bombing forward.
Jordi Alba was surprisingly quiet from an attacking perspective in Barcelona’s victory over Manchester City, no doubt due to Jesus Navas’ threat on the counter attack up against him.
Three goals in four games is another tick in favour of Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Rosicky has only netted once in his last 29 appearances for Arsenal.
What Rosicky does offer is greater security in possession and in a game where Arsenal may see little of the ball, they must retain it well in the periods they do.
Arsenal’s odds are 4/1 to beat Bayern Munich, with Oxlade-Chamberlain 9/2 to score in the 90 minutes.
Bayern are the 8/11 favourites, while new customers to Coral can profit from odds of 3/1 up to a £10 stake. See more information on this offer here.