As Group D advances into it’s penultimate fixture, Arsenal have had mixed form as of late in this year’s competition. Defying the odds and snatching a last gasp winner at Anderlecht to the dingy depths of losing a three goal lead at home in the reverse fixture. Arsenal face Dortmund in what looks to be surely their last attempt to top their group. Five points behind the German side, Arsenal need to win their remaining two, whilst Dortmund must lose them, and with BVB having already qualified, anything is possible. An intriguing encounter is set to rock the Emirates come Wednesday night, but with the Gunner’s torrid time as of late there may be some vital chops and changes.
Wojciech Szczesny was the talking point against Manchester United on Saturday. Carelessly coming to claim the ball and failing to do so, he was then injured by team-mate Kieran Gibbs, coming off immediately after the ball landed in his net. Damian Martinez replaced the Polish shot-stopper, and with new-boy David Ospina out of action, it will be the inexperienced Argentine to start.
The fresh idea of introducing Hector Bellerin is a hot topic of conversation amongst most Gooners right now. Defensively it has been a shambles, ever since our glorified Laurent Koscienly attained tendinitis. Nacho Monreal has since deputised in the centre-back slot, incapable of filling the growing hole our star defender left. With Koscielny back, it would be silly to risk him immediately, so a start for Bellerin should be on the cards, and young Calum Chambers shuffling over to his preferred centre-half position. Other than these changes, the defence should remain. Too many defensive changes can cause miscommunication, as Arsenal familiarly know.
Jack Wilshere looks set to miss this tie, as well as ‘many more weeks’ quoted by Wenger in his latest press-conference. It’s always a huge shame to lose such a talent, but now will we see the return of the ever-successful 4-2-3-1? Mikel Arteta is expected to start in the pivot, alongside compatriot Aaron Ramsey who is set to turn his season back in the right direction. Next to Arteta, Ramsey excels as he uses his energy to play from box to box. Dismissing his scoring attitude, Ramsey must focus solely on his basic game as goals will begin to come naturally for the Welshman, specifically if he plays in this role.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in another fine performance in Saturday’s heated clash and so should retain his place on one of the Gunner’s flanks. Starting adjacently on the other side should be perhaps a name most Arsenal fans have forgotten. German international Lukas Podolski has claimed lately he has no intention of becoming a ‘clown’ on Arsenal’s bench, and quite frankly I agree. He offers a powerful finish and a handful of assists. Proving clinical in the tie in Brussels, he deserves a chance at left-midfield, and granted, if he is poor he can be substituted after 60 minutes. A chance is worthy, especially with the form Cazorla is in.
Finally a duo of Alexis and Welbeck should lead the Arsenal attack. An exciting option for all Arsenal fans as their two main men work so well together when pressing from the top. Olivier Giroud made a fine return against Manchester United, but due to his expected lengthy absence he’s not actually registered for the squad…Doh! Not to worry, he’ll be nice and fresh for our game away at West Brom when height is required.
If I were miraculously in charge of Arsenal for this clash, I’d field a strong team with pace, energy and enthusiasm to beat Klopp’s men at their own game. (4-2-3-1)
GK – Damian Martinez
RB – Hector Bellerin
LB – Kieran Gibbs
CB – Calum Chambers – Per Mertesacker
CM – Aaron Ramsey – Mikel Arteta
RM – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
LM – Lukas Podolski
CF – Alexis Sanchez
ST – Danny Welbeck