Koscielny Starts! Arsenal vs. Dortmund: Team News & Predicted Line-Ups


Team News

Arsenal are, once again, without Mathieu Debuchy and Mesut Ozil for the crunch-tie in the Champions League but there are further concerns.

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Jack Wilshere is out after an ankle injury sustained during the loss to Manchester United at the weekend and the same is the case for Wojciech Szczesny, which means that Damien Martinez is likely to start with second-choice David Ospina also unavailable.

Laurent Koscielny has returned to the squad ahead of schedule.

The Gunners are also without Olivier Giroud for the match, despite the French striker’s return from injury, as he was not selected as part of the squad for the Champions League Group Stages.

Theo Walcott is also rated as doubtful having returned from international duty with England with a problem, which caused him to miss the Premier League game against United.

Borussia Dortmund have numerous injury problems of their own and are definitely without Marco Reus, who sustained his third ankle injury in five months during the recent 2-2 Bundesliga draw with Paderborn.

The Germans also have concerns regarding the fitness of Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Oliver Kirch, Sokratis, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Nuri Sahin.

Likely Line-Ups

As mentioned, Damien Martinez is likely to start in goal due to the absences of Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina. The Gunners are experiencing a similar problem to what was witnessed in the victory against Anderlecht last month, where Martinez deputised with Szczesny suspended and Ospina sidelined.

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Laurent Koscielny could return in the defence after he was passed fit, likely to replace Nacho Monreal.

In midfield, the loss of Jack Wilshere means that Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey are likely to feature as the deeper-lying too, selected ahead of Mathieu Flamini. Arteta has performed admirably in recent games, showing he is improving in the role, whilst Ramsey needs to improve after failing to recapture his performances from last season.

The front three ahead of them is also likely to be unchanged, with Santi Cazorla on the left side, Alexis Sanchez central and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right. Cazorla has been under performing in recent weeks and is unlikely to keep his first-team place when the Gunners have a fully fit side, whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to show similar performances against United that he did on international duty.

Arsenal will rely heavily on Alexis Sanchez, who is enjoying a stellar season, whilst up-front Danny Welbeck could do with some goals after increasing pressure upon him and Olivier Giroud finding the net at the weekend.

Arsenal XI: Martinez; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Cazorla, Welbeck

Borussia Dortmund’s defence will likely consist of Roman Weidenfeller, Lukasz Piszczek, Mattias Ginter, Neven Subotic and Erik Durm. The two full-backs provide bags of pace that Arsenal will have to be wary of, especially when pushing forward as the wide duo will enjoy hitting on the counter-attack.

Dortmund are likely to field an identical formation to Arsenal, with Sebastien Kehl and Ilkay Gundogan as a deep-pair behind a trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Those three possess bags of pace and attacking flair, which will cause problems for Arsenal throughout the game.

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Up top is Italian striker Ciro Immobile, who was linked with a move to North London before signing for Dortmund. He’ll spearhead the Germans attack and the Gunners need to be wary of his capabilities.

Dortmund XI: Weidenfeller; Durm, Subotic, Ginter, Piszczek; Kehl, Gundogan; Aubameyang, Kagawa, Mkhitaryan; Immobile

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