Arsenal travel to the Allianz Arena as they face German Heavyweights Bayern Munich in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg.
Despite a shaky start to the season, the German champions have hit a great run of form recently; winning 10 of their last 11 games, and have reclaimed their place at the top of the Bundesliga.
In contrast, the Gunners have looked far form their best of late, amid resurfaced speculation regarding Arsene Wenger’s job resulting in a divide in fans on platforms such as ArsenalFanTv.
Arsenal: Wenger will have some difficult decisions to make regarding arsenal’s lineup, and will likely adopt his favoured 4231/433 formation.
In my opinion, the Frenchman should start star man Alexis Sanchez in a false nine role, which he has flourished in for the majority of the season.
This withdrawn centre forward position will pose problems to centre back pairing Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels whether to follow their man and leave space in defence or stay in position and risk affording the Chilean time and space on the ball.
Another query for Wenger is who to start in central midfield, with Oxlade-Chamberlin impressing there recently and Granit Xhaka available for the first time since his dismissal against Burnley in January.
If the London side want to succeed in Munich, attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil will have to shake of his infamous reputation of going missing in big games and prove his undeniable quality.
Here is my favoured lineup:
Formation – 4231
Gk – Cech Cb – Koscielny Cb – Mustafi Rb – Bellerin Lb Gibbs Cdm – Coquelin
Cm – Oxlade-Chamberlin Cam – Ozil Ram – Walcott Lam – Iwobi St – Sanchez
Bayern Munich: Carlo Ancelotti has begun to put his stamp on this Bayern Munich team recently and has implement his famous Christmas Tree formation with Thomas Muller and Thiago Alcantara utilised in behind Robert Lewandowski.
Xabi Alonso has controlled the play from defensive midfield with workhorses Joshua Kimmich and Arturo Vidal alongside the Spaniard.
However, Dutch winger Arjen Robben has also excelled this season and Ancelotti could revert to a previously used 433 formation, especially with Arsenal looking weak in the Left back position.
Star Centre Back Jerome Boateng remains sidelined due to a shoulder injury with Frank Ribery returning following a hamstring injury.
Here is my favoured lineup:
Formation – 4321 (Christmas Tree)
Gk – Neuer Cb – Martinez Cb – Boateng Lb – Alaba Rb – Lahm Cdm – Alonso
Cm – Kimmich Cm – Vidal Cam Thiago Cam – Muller St – Lewandowski
The Bavarian side are unquestionably favourites and will most likely come out winners, with Arsenal going out in the round of 16 in the Champions League the past 6 seasons.
However the Gunners will be looking to end that run and will try and replicate their 2-0 win in 2013 with an arguably weaker side.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-0 Arsenal