The Gunners boss opted to pick Sanogo ahead of experienced France international Olivier Giroud, who was left on the bench following several days of lurid headlines about his private life.

Sanogo, 21, has little pedigree at the highest level, having played sparingly since signing for Arsenal from Ligue 2 club Auxerre as a free agent last year.

Sanogo, who had 30 minutes of Champions League playing time against Fenerbahce in August, made his full Arsenal debut in the 2-1 FA Cup fifth round win over Liverpool on Sunday and has also appeared twice as a substitute.

"He is playing well, as simple as that," Wenger said just before kick-off.

"You can debate every position from the first to the last. Olivier Giroud has played a lot of games recently, he is a bit tired."

German champions Bayern were without injured France winger Franck Ribery, with former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben and Mario Goetze set to provide the main attacking threat behind lone striker Mario Mandzukic for Pep Guardiola's side.

Starting line-ups in the Champions League last 16 first-leg match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday:

Arsenal (4-2-3-1)

Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker (capt), Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs; Mathieu Flamini, Jack Wilshere; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla; Yaya Sanogo.

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1)

Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm (capt), Jerome Boateng, Dante, David Alaba; Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez; Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze; Mario Mandzukic.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)