Arsenal v Bayern Munich: Arsene Wenger faces selection headache with Mikel Arteta suspended and choice between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky

Mathieu Flamini looks set to deputise for the suspended Mikel Arteta and with Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil all expected to start, Wenger has a big decision to make

Arsene Wenger will have to decide between the in-form Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and workhorse Tomas Rosicky ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 first leg against holders Bayern Munich on Wednesday, as he will be without vice-captain and influential midfielder Mikel Arteta due to suspension.

Arteta was shown a second yellow card in the final minutes of the Gunners 2-0 loss to Napoli, where another goal for the Serie A side would have seen the Premier League club knocked out of the competition and competing in the latter stages of the Europa League.

Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the trip to Naples as he spent the first five months of the season on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury, but his return has seen him flourish in the Arsenal starting line-up with match-winning performances against Crystal Palace and Liverpool this month.

However, Rosicky is seen as a safer option in midfield given his desire to hold back more than the England international, whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown a desire to charge into the opposition’s box when the opportunity arises.

Read more: Arsenal v Bayern Munich match preview
Arsenal lacked belief last season - Wenger
Lehmann offers £2,000 reward for missing bag
Ramsey given green light to step up recovery
Mertesacker labels Bayern 'untouchable'
Wenger faces selection dilemma
Bayern a bigger deal than Mourinho

Given the ease with which Bayern’s midfield of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez tore the Gunners apart last season, Wenger will be fully aware that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s natural attacking mind-set could leave his side exposed, with the likes of Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic ready to pounce on the counter attack.

Mathieu Flamini looks set to deputise for Arteta in the holding role, although Wenger will be keen for the Frenchman to maintain a restrained approach given his yellow card for a rash tackle on Steven Gerrard on Sunday coming after he had just returned from a three-match ban for a straight red against Southampton in January.

Both Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla should be fit to return to the starting XI for the encounter after they were named on the bench for the FA Cup victory, while Mesut Ozil is certain to continue his search for his best form.

That leaves just one position in the midfield left to fill, with the decision split between Rosicky and Cazorla leaving Wenger with a tactical head-scratcher. Get it wrong, and Arsenal could be out of the tie before the first leg is even finished, much worse than the 3-1 loss they suffered in the same fixture last season.

The Frenchman, dubbed ‘The Professor’, appeared in a confident mood though, insisting that his side understand the German’s style of play much more this season than the last time they met.

“I think we know them better than we did last year,” said Wenger. “We will be in a better condition, hopefully, because 12 months ago we played them after the disappointment of losing to Blackburn.

“We were in a much more difficult position in the league as well, so this season we are better prepared to go into a game of that stature. 

“Successful league seasons often come with cup runs. The FA Cup conflicts sometimes with the Champions League, but if you win in the FA Cup, it puts you in a better way for the rest of the season. It brings more positive vibes which is always important.”

 

Wenger can also look back and take heart from his consecutive meetings with Barcelona back in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Arsenal drew the home leg with the formidable Catalans before losing 4-1 in the second, and while they were eliminated again the following season, they did record an incredible 2-1 victory at home. Has Robin van Persie not been shown a second yellow card for shooting when offside at the Nou Camp, history could be very different given that the Gunners were leading on aggregate at the time. Barcelona went on the win that season’s Champions League.

Suggested Topics
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss