Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates tomorrow afternoon in what promises to be an action-packed game.
This will be the first meeting between the two sides this season and both will want to record a win over the other, not only for the three precious points at stake, but to also send their fans home happy and with the Bragging rights in the bag.
Both sides are in fine form to say the least. Arsenal are currently 19 games unbeaten in all competitions and occupy fifth spot in the Premier League with 27 points from 13 games, while Spurs sit in third, three points above the Gunners with 30 from 13.
This will be Unai Emery’s first north London derby against Spurs and another big test for his side. The Spaniard and his team have been questioned over their ability to perform against the top sides this season following losses to Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening two games of the season. They did, however, do well against alleged title contenders Liverpool a few weeks ago where they earned a deserved point when many believed they would’ve been ripped to shreds due to their defensive frailties. Admittedly, Emery has done well up to now and a 19-game unbeaten run across all competitions is impressive, and the Spaniard will desperately want to continue this run – especially against the club’s oldest and fiercest rivals.
Meanwhile, Spurs have been performing well as of late in the Premier League, winning four of their last five games and only five points adrift table leaders Manchester City. Mauricio Pochettino will be more buoyant of the two managers coming into tomorrow’s game knowing the Gunners have failed to beat them in their last six meetings as well.
Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck are ruled out for tomorrow, while Laurent Koscielny is unlikely to feature, and Alexandre Lacazette could be available for selection having not been risked on Thursday in the Europa League against Vorskla.
So, what should Arsenal’s starting XI be tomorrow?
This will of course depend on what formation Emery decides to go with. At the start of the season through to last week against Bournemouth, Emery has opted for a 4-2-3-1. However, last week, the Gunners were sent out in a 3-5-2 (3-2-2-2-1 depending on how you look at it) formation which did the job. I believe Emery will continue with this new formation knowing Spurs’ attacking and creative quality. I would, however, prefer the other system instead.
So, here is the starting system and XI I think Emery will play:
Mustafi Sokratis Holding
Despite one or two crazy moments, Bernd Leno has impressed this season between the sticks and is likely to takeover from Petr Cech, who started against Vorskla on Thursday.
The back three will consist of Rob Holding, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi, while filling the wing-back roles will be Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac. Obvious choices.
I do want to see Matteo Guendouzi start, but I think experience should be considered, so Granit Xhaka will more than likely play alongside Lucas Torreira in midfield.
Alex Iwobi has done well this season, but I think this is a game where Mesut Ozil must play. It may be a risk as he doesn’t ‘work hard’ for the team, but if on his game, the German can prove decisive in this game. I would like to see Ozil start and silence his critics with a big performance.
Upfront Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will start, and if Lacazette is fit and raring to go, then he should play alongside the former Dortmund striker. If he isn’t, then Iwobi will take his place.