Look away now Arsenal fans. As the Gunners prepare to take on the might of Bayern Munich in their Champions League last-16 first leg at the Emirates, we could only find space for one of the host’s number in our combined XI.
Arsene Wenger must be wondering what he’s done to deserve drawing this record-breaking Bayern side for a second successive year at this stage of the competition.
Although the writing is not yet on the wall, the German club’s odds of 3/4 to prevail in the away leg (yes the away leg) compared to Arsenal’s 7/2, give an indication of the uphill task facing the Gunners just to make the last eight.
As such, we could only find space for one Arsenal star in a blend of the two clubs, no matter how hard we tried – do you agree?
Arsenal may own the joint-second stingiest defence in the Premier League, but compared to that of Bayern’s its positively colander-like.
Manuel Neuer is considered by many to be the finest guardian of the net anywhere on the planet and we tend to agree as the Germany international has only shipped nine Bundesliga goals all season, while Wojciech Szczesny’s goal-line has been breached 26 times.
Of course these stats owe much to the defenders in front of them, and for this reason three of them belong to Bayern in our side.
The one surprise is that Per Mertesacker gets the nod over Jerome Boateng, not just for his experience and ability to snuff out danger early, but because his younger compatriot has a poor disciplinary record this season too.
The versatile Philipp Lahm slots in at right back, but going forward Bayern’s myriad of midfield talent simply outshines that of even Arsenal’s highly-talented cohort.
Lahm’s reversion to his original right-back position allows Bastian Schweinsteiger to anchor alongside Thiago Alcantara, with Mario Gotze just in front.
This leaves no place for Mesut Ozil in the string-pulling department, while the twin terrors of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben take the wide births.
Up front, the clever and potent Thomas Muller gets the nod over OIivier Giroud or Mario Mandzukic.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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