Arsenal v Bayern Munich (19.45 GMT ko)
Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez believes Arsenal are a stronger side this season than they were last term, due to the arrival of Mesut Ozil.
The German giants travel to the Emirates Stadium for the first-leg of their Champions League last 16 clash on Wednesday.
Mesut Ozil is a decisive player for any club. I am still surprised Real Madrid let him go.
Jack Wilshere could return to Arsenal’s starting line-up as they look to inflict a second defeat in 35 matches on European champions Bayern Munich.
Mikel Arteta is suspended for the last 16 first leg with Arsene Wenger expected to make changes from the side who beat Liverpool in the FA Cup.
Wingers Franck Ribery (buttock) and Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) both miss out for Bayern. Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is fit again after an ankle injury.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has seen his Gunners side go out in the first knockout round of the Champions League in each of the last three seasons.
He said: “Football is not a chess game, it belongs to the players. When the game starts, it’s (about) the right decisions on the pitch.
“We as managers prepare the team to do well, we take responsibilities when it doesn’t go well, but don’t forget the main heroes are out on the pitch, not on the bench.
“They play a bit higher up as a unit (since winning the Champions League last season), but overall they have the same players. Schweinsteiger is coming back and he has been replaced by Thiago, who is a Spanish-type player, but overall the players are the same.”
Ozil, signed by Wenger from Real Madrid last August, is expected to start for the Gunners with Bayern boss Pep Guardiola looking to stop him having possession of the ball.
“He’s a big talent,” Guardiola said. “We have to control him. The best way to control him is when Bayern have the ball. That’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow.”
The two sides met at the same stage of the competition last season, with Bayern winning 3-1 in north London and Arsenal coming out on top 2-0 in Germany as the Bavarian side progressed via the away goals rule, before going on to win the competition.
The Gunners arguably provided Bayern with their biggest test in the tournament last year and Martinez expects another fierce battle this season, with the midfielder highlighting German international Ozil as the biggest threat to his side.
“This game is different to last year. Arsenal is never easy but they are a better team this time,” said Martinez.
“They made us suffer in Munich last year and we know how important it is to score in London. If we can do that, then we believe we can go through. But they have better players, a confidence and Mesut Ozil is a decisive player for any club. I am still surprised Real Madrid let him go.”
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