Arsenal and Tottenham face off in the north London derby at the Emirates with more on the line than has regularly been the case in recent seasons. Mikel Arteta’s men currently sit top of the Premier League however Spurs can leapfrog their biggest rivals at the summit should Antonio Conte inspire a victory.
As a result, it is more difficult than ever to select a combined XI for the two enemies but Express Sport has taken on the challenge. Lining up in the now somewhat out of favour 4-4-2 formation, five of Arteta’s starting eleven can count themselves unlucky to miss out while the same can be said of the six unfortunate stars from the Lilywhites.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
One of the easier decisions to start with as Lloris still maintains a high level of performance despite reaching his twilight years. The Spurs captain has been a highly dependable presence between the sticks for the Lilywhites over the past decade and remains a better option than Aaron Ramsdale, despite the Gunners keeper’s good form since his arrival from Sheffield United last season.
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Defenders: Ben White, Cristian Romero, William Saliba and Kieran Tierney
The difficult conundrums properly get going in the backline with both sides boasting impressive defensive records this season. Despite this, right-back is still a position of relative weakness with neither side holding a reliable out-and-out option in the position. The place hence goes to centre-back Ben White who has performed admirably there so far this season after being shunted into unfamiliar territory by Arteta.
Centre-half is even harder with Romero, Saliba and Gabriel each holding strong claims for a starting berth. The Frenchman’s form this season has made him too difficult to ignore while the Argentine just pips his South American rival as a result of his aggressive style of play. Gabriel can count himself very unlucky to miss out.
Left-back was tough for different reasons with the competition for the position within Arsenal particularly fierce. Oleksandr Zinchenko has been hugely impressive since his arrival from Manchester City but Tierney edges it for his long-term performances. There are few left-backs in the world who can claim to be as good as the Scotland international when he is fully fit – earning him a spot in the side.
Midfielders: Buyako Saka, Martin Odegaard, Rodrigo Bentancur and Heung-Min Son
The slot on the right-hand side of midfield was probably the most closely matched of the lot given the relative quality of Dejan Kulusevski and Saka, however, it is the England international who narrowly pips him. He is a consistent creative presence in the Arsenal starting lineup and was the club’s best player until this season.
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Gunners’ captain Odegaard is an easy pick in central midfield with no other player available possessing his ability on the ball. Bentancur goes in alongside him offering classy steel to the Norweigian’s technical ability. Both Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are unlucky to have missed out.
Son is a relatively straightforward pick given his goalscoring record. He has not been on top form so far this season but looks to be on the verge of returning to his unplayable self following his hat trick as a substitute against Leicester.
Forwards: Harry Kane and Gabriel Jesus
The two strikers are impossible to leave out, with both holding a strong claim to be the best players at their respective clubs. The duo have been in fantastic scoring form all season, with much of their teams’ best-attacking play coming directly through them. They are likely to once again be the difference makers this weekend as the two north London rivals take to the Emirates for their top-of-the-table clash.
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