It’s for the first time under Arsene Wenger that Arsenal go as the clear underdogs against a Tottenham Hotspur side. Not even during the Gareth Bale days could such an opinion be held sane, but as times stand, north London is on the verge of a power shift and it’s Arsenal who are on the wrong end. How long for does the superiority last is arguable, for Spurs’ Wembley days are fast approaching, the days they fear the most.
For the moment, let’s stay on the ‘North London Derby’, a fixture that could impact the season of both the teams in so many ways. Arsenal’s, for example, could get an uplift and result in a run that sees them finish in the top four, maybe win the FA Cup too. Can’t afford any blunders, Arsene.
So what’ll the Arsenal XI look like? Here’s what we think:
GK: Petr Cech
The Czech was on song against Leicester City whenever tested and made a few decent saves when the ball could have easily gone in. Needs to be at the top of his game at the White Hart Lane.
RWB: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Finally looking like the player everyone expects him to be, having bossed the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, no second thoughts here.
CB: Gabriel Paulista
Gabriel has had two very good games in succession now, and the NLD gives him a chance to prove a point for himself. No doubt about his place in the side.
CB: Laurent Koscielny
The captain, the best defender, the driving force at the back. One of the first names on the teamsheet, if he is indeed fit for tomorrow.
CB: Rob Holding
Yes, we do believe it’ll be a back three again, and it’s Rob Holding who gets the third spot. For someone of his age, the performances Holding has put up have been mighty impressive. It should (could) be his biggest test tomorrow.
LWB: Nacho Monreal
Man of the moment. Monreal has been solid at the back and has done well going forward. Gibbs might be a more natural fit for the system but on form, Monreal gets in.
CM: Aaron Ramsey
Should immediately retain his place in the side after being rested against Leicester City. He seems to be rejuvenated in a two-man midfield alongside Xhaka. Arsenal will need his energy against a very solid Tottenham defence.
CM: Granit Xhaka
One of the players who could potentially decide the game. He has been in fine form for some time now, but tomorrow is his real test. He needs to dominate the midfield if Arsenal are going to get on top tomorrow. He’ll have a stern test against Wanyama and Dembele but Xhaka will need to stamp his authority on the game.
LF: Alexis Sanchez
Scored that late, late equaliser to silence the White Hart Lane last season. Could he silence the Lane again? We shall see.
RW: Mesut Ozil
Been some time since Mesut Ozil single-handedly won a game for Arsenal. We’ll need it tomorrow.
ST: Danny Welbeck
Danny Welbeck finally looks fit to start for Arsenal, and since it’s expected to be a fast-paced game, he should be in for Olivier Giroud. Let’s hope his finishing is better than it was last Sunday against City.
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