Arsenal host Barcelona in the Champions League this evening, but how many players from the Premier League side would make it into a combined XI? We pick our combined team.
GK: Petr Cech
The former Chelsea keeper has been a terrific signing for Arsene Wenger this season, keeping 12 clean sheets in the Premier League and adding an air of confidence to the Arsenal defence. Interestingly, Messi has never scored against Cech in six previous meetings.
RB: Hector Bellerin
Previously of Barcelona’s youth academy, the right-back’s form over the past season has been brilliant adding both a defensive and an attacking presence. The 20-year-old has recently claimed he is faster than six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, having clocked 4.41 seconds over 40m in 2009.
CB: Gerard Pique
Often one of the unsung heroes at Barcelona, Pique has been a mainstay in both treble winning sides. The Spanish centre-half is one of the many ‘might-have-beens’ when Wenger tried to sign him in 2003.
CB: Javier Mascherano
A midfield-turned-defender, the former Liverpool and West Ham star is an extraordinarily consistent player for both Barcelona and Argentina. Dani Alves has recently claimed Mascherano should’ve won the 2014 Ballon d’Or, a sentiment shared with England manager Roy Hodgson.
LB: Nacho Monreal
Along with Bellerin, Arsenal’s full-backs have had a tremendous season. Monreal has been extremely consistent for the Gunners and has quietly usurped Kieran Gibbs as their first-choice left-back. Excellent in defence and in attack, the 29-year-old will face has toughest test of the season when he faces Lionel Messi.
CDM: Sergio Busquets
Arguably the best midfielder in the world right now, Busquets is the linchpin between defence and attack for Barcelona – starting most of the moves that lead to goal-threats. Often criticised in the UK for his play acting, there’s no doubting the 27-year-old is one of the finest players to play for the Catalan giants.
CM: Ivan Rakitic
Since leaving Sevilla for Barcelona, the Croatian has quickly settled into the Catalan midfield. In his first season at the club, the 27-year-old won the treble – scoring in the Champions League final.
CM: Mesut Ozil
Having registered 17 assists in the league this season, Ozil has been one of the standout players not only for Arsenal but in England. The German will be hoping for a big game at the Emirates as he faces his former Clasico rivals.
RW: Lionel Messi
Five Ballon d’Ors, four Champions League titles and 80 goals in the competition, Messi is the first name on the list in any combined XI with Barcelona.
ST: Luis Suarez
So far this season, Suarez has bagged 41 goals in 37 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona and leads La Liga’s scoring charts with 25. His performances for the European champions have been stunning and he’ll be keen to put on yet another good display against Premier League opposition.
The final prong in the MSN, the Brazilian sensation has scored 23 times in 32 appearances this season. At 24 years old, the best is yet to come from Neymar who has already achieved so much in his career – namely winning both the Champions League and Copa Libertadores as well as scoring 46 goals in 69 appearances for Brazil.