Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been given the nod for the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League round of 16 tie with Barcelona tonight.
Arsene Wenger has opted to leave out Theo Walcott, who could have been selected in place of either Giroud or Oxlade-Chamberlain, up front or on the wing.
Only centre-backs Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are retained from the side which drew 0-0 with Hull City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 23, 2016
The Gunners’ three most important players – Petr Cech, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil – all return for the visit of the European champions to the Emirates Stadium.
Full-backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal are also back, while Francis Coquelin is preferred to Mathieu Flamini and will partner Aaron Ramsey in midfield.
Barcelona are close to full strength, spearheaded by the daunting forward three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, who have 91 goals between them this season.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is Barca’s goalkeeper in cup competitions and comes in for Claudio Bravo. Sergi Roberto, Jeremy Mathieu and Arda Turan also drop out, for Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets, from the team which beat Las Palmas 2-1 in La Liga.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 23, 2016
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