Derby Day on Sunday, and what a significant game for both sides it is.
Arsenal take on Spurs in the last NLD at White Hart Lane this weekend and both MUST for very different reasons. The Gunners still have a chance of acquiring a top four finish yet again this season but, like Arsene Wenger recently stated, they must win every one of their last remaining fixtures if they are to have any hope of reaching their goal and see others above them drop some points along the way. On the other hand, with four games left to go, Spurs can’t afford to drop any more points if they are to pursue Chelsea for the title.
Simply put, both sides have to go for the win, a draw wouldn’t be helpful for either, although Arsenal would probably be the happier if it ended honours even purely for the fact that they ended their rivals title challenge.
As mentioned earlier, it is the final Derby at White Hart Lane as Spurs start their redevelopment on their new Stadium, so they will want to give their fans and the stadium something to remember.
Both sides have been of goof form as of late, so it promises to be a highly-charged Derby and a good one for the neutrals to engage in.
With that being said, Wenger will have to make the right calls this Sunday, in particular his starting XI. After 20 years, we have seen the Frenchman adopt a new formation in recent weeks, the 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 formation (whichever way you look at it), and so far, it has proven effective in terms of results. But will Arsene stick to this new system on Sunday? Or will he revert back to the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation? This is of course his call to make, and a huge one at that. I believe he will play the 3-5-2 and so this is the side I reckon he will start off with at the Lane:
Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
Chamberlain Ramsey Xhaka Sanchez
So obviously, Petr Cech in goal and the front three has to consist of Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel and Nacho Monreal, as Shkodran Mustafi is out injured, while I believe the occasion may be too much for Rob Holding at this moment in time.
In the wing-back positions I stuck Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right-hand side and Alexis Sanchez on the opposite flank. Chamberlain has excelled in this new position and he has the pace and stamina to run back and forward all day long. I know, it’s weird seeing Sanchez not lead the line, but like Chamberlain, the Chilean never gets tired or running and is a workhorse, this is why I think he needs to start in this position on Sunday.
No real other options than sticking Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka in the centre of the park, but they will have to keep their positions well and work tirelessly throughout the game to ensure we come out with a result. Francis Coquelin has become a liability while Mohamed Elneny isn’t viewed as a starter.
Mesut Ozil in the attacking midfield role, and I hope the German shows his class and not hide once again in a massive game.
As for the strikers, I think you’ve got to go with a combination of pace and power, therefore I stuck Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott. I’m not a huge fan of Walcott. I do think he is overhyped. However, he does up his game against rivals (especially Spurs) and hopefully he delivers once again. As for Welbeck, the guy needs to start as his pace and power would frighten their back-line.