Arsenal face the unenviable task of toppling, arguably, the best club side on the planet this evening: Barcelona. The Spaniards are the reigning La Liga, Copa de Rey and Champions League champions following a breath-taking 2014/15, with Luis Enrique’s team, arguably, a better all-round unit than the Pep Guardiola ‘tiki-taka’ machine of a few years ago.
The Gunners will be lucky to come out of their last-16 double header having not been embarrassed then, right? Well, Arsene Wenger’s men have some cause for hope if this OuLaLa.com’s stats-based combined XI is anything to go by, with the scoreline 7-4 in Arsenal’s favour…
As you can see, aside from one centre-back and that awesome front three, this team is Arsenal heavy, with the Emirates Stadium’s midfield options and defensive set-up, by numbers at least, superior.
To create this side, OuLaLa paired opposing players in both Arsenal and Barca’s best XIs and gave them an overall score based on a series of performance-related numbers. For example, in goal Petr Cech’s stats have been superior to those of Claudio Bravo, so he got the nod, while Mesut Ozil has out-shone Andres Iniesta.
Will this translate to the real action this evening, though?