Ideal Arsenal XI v Barcelona: Key player fit, Wenger should hit Spaniards with pace in hope of miracle

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Arsenal face an almost impossible task as they aim to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Lionel Messi’s double at the Emirates Stadium last month has given the Gunners a mountain to climb at the Camp Nou if they are to reach the quarter-finals.

The odds are stacked against Arsene Wenger and his men. CaughtOffside reckons that Arsenal’s best chance is if the Frenchman goes with this lineup…

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GK: David Ospina

The Colombian, deputising for Petr Cech, will probably have to have a stormer if Arsenal are to stand any chance of pulling off the most unlikely of comebacks.

RB: Hector Bellerin

This will be the 20-year-old’s first playing return to the Camp Nou since he left Barca for Arsenal in 2011. Oh, and he will probably have Neymar to contend with.

CB: Laurent Koscielmy

Sky Sports reports that the French defender trained on Tuesday after missing four matches with a calf strain. His return improves Arsenal’s albeit slim hopes.

Laurent Koscielny Arsenal Barcelona

CB: Gabriel Paulista

Wenger will choose between Per Mertesacker and Gabriel to partner Koscielny. The fear of the German’s lack of pace being exposed should convince him to go with the latter.

LB: Nacho Monreal

Kieran Gibbs has started Arsenal’s last three games having played second fiddle to Monreal for most of the season. The Spaniard is simply a better player and should be recalled.

CM: Francis Coquelin

Arsenal will have to get their full-backs forward, and Coquelin must be disciplined enough to sit deep and cover for them otherwise Barcelona will pick the visitors off at will.

CM: Mohamed Elneny

Aaron Ramsey has joined Arsenal’s absentee list since the first leg, and therefore Wenger will have little choice but to throw untested Egyptian Elneny into the Camp Nou fire.

AMR: Theo Walcott

Has been far from his best over the past few months, but Walcott has the pace to hurt Barcelona. His omission from the start against Watford suggests that he is in Wenger’s plans.

Theo Walcott Arsenal

AMC: Mesut Ozil

Ozil is Arsenal’s best player and they must get the ball to him in dangerous areas. Elneny and Coquelin have to sacrifice their attacking instincts to give Ozil the freedom that he needs.

AML: Alexis Sanchez

Now is the perfect time for Sanchez to come to the party in a big way. Boosted by his North London derby goal, the Chilean should be fired up returning to his old stomping ground.

ST: Danny Welbeck

Arsenal are likely to spend a lot of time on the back foot, so the counter-attacking threat of Welbeck might be more effective than the physical presence of Olivier Giroud to start with.

Arsenal lineup v Barcelona

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More Stories Alexis Sanchez Danny Welbeck David Ospina Francis Coquelin Gabriel Paulista Hector Bellerin Laurent Koscielny Mesut Ozil Mohamed Elneny Nacho Monreal theo walcott