Arsenal vs Barcelona – Combined XI
Posted by Aaron C-Reid | Published on February 23, 2016
Arsenal vs Barcelona is one of the most common fixtures in Europe over the last few years. Meeting in the 2006 Champions League final and then two years in a row in the 09/10 and 10/11 seasons. In this article, I will be giving my current combined starting eleven between the two European heavyweights. Barcelona boasts many of the top players in the world, so it is very difficult to include more than a handful of Arsenal players. This team will be heavily dominated by Barcelona players however, Arsenal will have a couple of mentions as well.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech
Since his acquisition, Cech has been ever-present in the Arsenal side. Showing his true leadership qualities as well as making countless one-on-one saves. He has proven to be a bargain, at just £10 million. Keeping the most clean sheets in the league, at 12. John Terry, his former teammate said that “He will save them 12 or 15 points a season” and the Czech Republic international seems to be on course to do just that.
Right Back – Dani Alves
Possibly the best right back in the world. It seems like the Brazilian has been around for ages. He is a huge threat going forward and does his job at the back as well. His pace, power and passing range are at such a high level for a full back.
Centre Back – Laurent Koscielny
Koscielny continues to develop and show that us that hard work pays off. Only a few years ago he was a bang average defender playing in the second division in France. Now he is one of the best, if not the best defender in the Premier League. He has a fantastic understanding of the game and has the pace to recover from any defending mishap. The Frenchman is a class act and narrowly beats out Mascherano to make the starting eleven.
Centre Back – Gerard Pique
Clearly one of the best centre-backs in the world is Pique. Since his unsuccessful spell at Manchester United Pique has thrived for the European champions. He is good in the air and has fantastic football knowledge. His trophy cabinet speaks for itself. He has won pretty much everything, the Champions League, the World Cup and La Liga to name a few.
Left Back – Jordi Alba
Since his emergence during the 2012 European Championships Jordi Alba has been arguably the best left back in the world. He has explosive pace and is amazing going forward. He is a mainstay in the Barcelona and Spanish teams.
Defensive Midfield – Sergio Busquets
Some may claim that Busquets is “overrated” but I cannot understand why. He is amazing on the ball and disrupts many of the opposition attacks. Possibly the best defensive midfielder of all time, the Spaniard also has won just about every trophy there is to win. It would be ludicrous to exclude him from this team and is without a shadow of a doubt one of Barcelona’s most important players.
Centre Midfield – Andres Iniesta
Iniesta has been one of the best central midfielders in the world for the last 10 years. He provides plenty of assists for his teammates and is one of the best passers in world football. He certainly hasn’t declined either. At the age of 31 he was still included in the official Team of the Year for 2015. Arsenal will need to contain him if they want any chance of going through.
Attacking Midfielder – Mesut Ozil
Arsenal’s record signing struggled to find his feet at the London-based club after he signed for £42.5 million in 2013. In his third season, he has finally started to perform week in week out. Collecting 17 assists as well as creating 105 chances for his teammates Ozil is the heartbeat of this Arsenal side. He will need to be at his best for Arsenal to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Left Winger – Neymar
Neymar has shown that he really is one of the best players in his world over the last 18 months. He is a fantastic finisher and possesses incredible skill. Scoring 23 goals already this season, the tricky Brazilian has shown everybody that he could be Messi’s successor at the Catalonian club.
Striker – Luis Suarez
Suarez lit up the Premier League with Liverpool, before his £70 million move to Barcelona in 2014. After serving his ban, he started to link up brilliantly with Messi and Suarez and is now regarded by many as the best striker in the world. Even when Messi was injured he displayed his fantastic finishing ability.
Right Winger – Lionel Messi
What can you say about the best player of all time? Since moving to the right wing, he has prospered. Cutting in from the right-hand side on his left foot and finishing multiple times. After recently grabbing his 300th La Liga goal Messi continues to amaze and dazzle everyone in the world.