The North London derby is drawing ever closer, and pundits everywhere have been chewing the fat regarding who is in the ascendancy in that part of the capital.
In the last few years, Tottenham have overtaken us and taken our Champions League status. Playing vibrant football and possessing some great players, Pochettino has assembled a team that takes it to the opposition home or away.
With a new stadium and on the back of a Champions League final appearance, you would say that the whites of North London can look down on Arsenal – despite their lack of silverware or any tangible success.
That would be a mistake though.
Tottenham have had their opportunity to make their advantage count, and now we have recovered from the malaise of Wengers final two years and the flux of emery’s first season. We have now constructed a side that is pacy, lethal in and around the box and studded with genuine talent. Now, the status of North London is very much up for grabs again.
Pundits however, fail to see this, and are still fawning over the job Pochettino is doing. With these experts selecting their combined Tottenham/Arsenal XI’s, we have seen a heavy Tottenham bias.
So let us pick our combined side – and we will see who comes out on top.
Who would you have in your eleven?
Goalkeeper – Leno/Lloris – Leno
Hugo Lloris has been one of the best goalies in recent years, but his crown has slipped a little. His drink-driving charge and some high-profile errors has coincided with the arrival of Leno, a long-awaited dependable keeper. The German gets the nod here.
Right Back – Maitland-Niles/Aurier – AMN
This choice is hindered by the fact that Kyle Walker-Peters has emerged as spurs’ first choice right-back, rather than Serge Aurier. With Walker-Peters expected to miss out with a hamstring injury, it means Aurier will step up – and Maitland-Niles walks this with his consistency and stamina alone. Aurier may have the edge on pace, but is there any consistency from the Ivory Coast man?
Centre Back – Sanchez/Sokratis – Sokratis –
Youth or experience? That is what it comes down to. Both are strong in the air and good on the deck, but Sanchez showed against Newcastle that lapses will not be forgiven – he let Toon goalscorer Joelinton get goalside too easily – and Sokratis has taken to the PL like a duck to water.
Centre Back – Alderweireld/Luiz – Alderweireld –
A first pick for a spurs man, and the Belgian is justified in his inclusion. It is a mystery why no club activated his release clause this summer, and Alderweireld has been a rock since joining the wrong team in North London. Luiz is a winner, but his errors can cost you – just look at last week.
Left-Back – Monreal/Davies – Monreal.
La Cabra gets the spot here, and his attacking, defending and nous in his position is unrivalled, especially when it comes to Ben Davies. The Tottenham man isn’t a bad player – but he just isn’t Nacho.
Central Midfield – Winks/Torreira – Torreira
The Uruguayan is a beast, and while Winks has good passing and touch, he won’t know what has hit him in this game. Torreira will take the ball and ensure we are on the front foot.
Central Midfield – Sissokho/Xhaka – Xhaka
The Swiss man wouldn’t be in the side if he was up against the likes of Fernandinho, Fabinho or Pogba, but Sissokho is not the answer that Tottenham need. Ndombele will most likely miss out through injury, so Sissokho will step in and while has an eye for a through ball, his tackling isn’t good enough for a box-to-box man. Xhaka’s stats against Liverpool showed how invaluable he can be when he is on his game.
Winger – Son/Auba – Auba –
This is not a slight on Son – one of the few who could conceivably squeeze into our side – but Auba is a Golden Boot winner and his goal ratio is deadly. Only one winner here.
Playmaker – Ceballos/Eriksen – Eriksen –
The Dane may or may not play, but the difference he makes is huge. He was a second half sub in the loss against Newcastle but upon his arrival, the game changed. Incredible stats and great vision. Ceballos looks the real deal, but he hasn’t had enough games to gauge it yet.
Winger – Ali/Pepe – Pepe –
Now, Pepe hasn’t played enough games either, but the amount of successful take-ons and skills from the former Lille man showed he is something truly special – whereas we haven’t seen anything of note from Ali since his bright bursting upon the scene seasons ago.
Striker – Kane/Lacazette – Laca
Kane has a great record of scoring against us, his goal ratio is fantastic and he could play for a far bigger team. The reason Laca gets in however, is because his chasing back of the ball, pressing the final third into errors and his overall attacking play – holding up possession, awareness of others – has been evident more recently than Kane, who has been bottlenecking play this season and has been a bit off-colour.
So, just two spurs players in The Arsenal Review’s North London Derby game.
We may be a bit biased, but hopefully our result backs this up!
Until next time, Up The Arsenal!