Mix ‘n’ Match: Arsenal scrape three into combined Bayern Munich team

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If punters did not already know the size of the uphill challenge facing Arsenal when squaring off with Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the fact they only just sneak three players into a combined starting XI should make things clearer.

Arsenal are 5/2 to advance to the Champions League quarter finals, with 2/7 the price that Bayern get the better of the Premier League outfit over the two legs.

It was a possibility discussed at Ladbrokes HQ that picking 11 Bayern Munich players in the combined team was a worthy move, but in the end we felt that Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott could hold down a spot in the Bayern first team.

Here is our chosen XI below.

Bayern Munich have only conceded seven goals in the Bundesliga all season, but we have not simply picked their regular back-four.

Dante has been a revelation at centre half this season, but there are doubts over all three of his regular partners Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Daniel Van Buyten.

With Arsenal’s central defenders far from assured either, we have taken the Barcelona approach and opted to push an extra central midfielder in by playing him at the back.

Javi Martinez has previously played in the position under Manuel Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao and this decision vacates a spot for Jack Wilshere to fit in alongside Bastien Schweinsteiger in the middle of the midfield.

The other two selection dilemmas came in the advanced midfield role between Toni Kroos and Santi Cazorla and who would lead the line.

Kroos has almost become the heartbeat of the Bayern side this season and would almost certainly be the toughest to replace if he became injured.

Meanwhile, with Kroos pulling strings and the creativity of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the wings, a striker who plays on the shoulder and has pace may be especially dangerous.

As good as Munich’s pair of Marios – Mandzukic and Gomez – are, Theo Walcott has stepped up this season and could add an entirely different attacking threat.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.