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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is preparing to field a pacy front three of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla in the first-leg clash against the Bundesliga giants

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Olivier Giroud could face the axe for Arsenal’s crunch Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, Goal.com understands.
 
BENCHED FOR BAYERN?

OLIVIER GIROUD SEASON STATS
APPEARANCES
GOALS
ASSISTS
BOOKINGS
37
14
7
5
Arsene Wenger believes his strongest offensive weapon in the last-16 first-leg encounter is a pacy, mobile front three that can hit the runaway Bundesliga leaders on the counterattack.
 
The Arsenal manager is believed to be leaning towards starting with a front trio of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, although he could revise his plans following training on Monday.
 
Jack Wilshere is expected to be the most advanced of a central midfield three and take on the playmaker role. Aaron Ramsey could get the nod over Abou Diaby to start alongside Mikel Arteta.
 
Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla, Wilshere and Ramsey were all substitutes on Saturday as Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship club Blackburn Rovers.

Bacary Sagna, who was an unused sub against Blackburn, and Per Mertesacker are also likely to start against Bayern as Arsenal prepare to make up to seven changes from the weekend.
 
The Champions League is Arsenal’s sole remaining hope of ending a trophy-less run that stretches back to 2005.
 
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Giroud has been used as the team’s spearhead in the Gunners’ last seven matches, a run that began when Walcott signed a new contract with the club.
 
Although the Frenchman has scored a creditable 14 goals in his first season at Arsenal, including five in three games at the end of last month, he has not always convinced against marquee opposition.
 
Bayern will be expected to push forward in search of a crucial away goal at Emirates Stadium, which could leave space behind their defence for the likes of Walcott and Podolski to exploit.
 
Wenger tried to boost his striking options by capturing David Villa from Barcelona in the January window but failed with a last-ditch bid of around £11 million.
 
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