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Arsenal v Barcelona team news: Giroud & Oxlade-Chamberlain get nod for huge Champions League tie

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.

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.

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More Stories Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Alexis Sanchez Arda Turan Claudio Bravo Francis Coquelin Gerard Pique Hector Bellerin ivan rakitic Jeremy Mathieu Laurent Koscielny Lionel Messi Luis Suarez marc-andre ter stegen mesut ozil Nacho Monreal neymar Olivier Giroud Per Mertesacker Petr Cech Sergi Roberto Sergio Busquets theo walcott