Confirmed line-ups: Arsenal shock as rookie starts against Barcelona
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Alex Iwobi starts for Arsenal in their must-win Champions League clash against Barcelona on Wednesday night as Arsene Wenger springs a selection surprise.
The attacking midfielder, 19, has been given the nod ahead of the likes of Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Olivier Giroud.
Wenger has made six changes from the team that crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Watford last Sunday, with Iwobi, Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini and Danny Welbeck replacing Joel Campbell, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud in the starting X1.
Arsenal must score at least two goals, as well as shut out the world’s most free-scoring team at their fortress Camp Nou stadium, to progress from the last-16 tie.
The return of first-choice full-backs Bellerin and Monreal is not a surprise, while Koscielny was expected to start after passing a fitness test on a calf injury that has sidelined him for four matches.
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Danny Welbeck was also widely expected to lead the attack after doing more in the final 15 minutes of the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Watford than Giroud had in the previous 75.
But Coquelin and Walcott will be particularly anguished to have missed out, with the latter putting a lean spell behind to score twice against Hull last week.