This Saturday the world will be treated with the North London derby. Both teams are in desperate need of the 3 points as the race for top four seems to be hotting up by the week. With that in mind, both managers will be looking to deploy their best starting XIs possible.
Here’s Arsenal’s likely starting XI.
GK: David Ospina
Petr Cechsuffered a calf injury in Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Everton. Arsene Wenger confirmed today in his press conference that the 35-year-old wouldn’t be risked in the North London derby. This will give David Ospina the chance to make just his 2nd league appearance of the season. The first came against Everton last week when he actually came on for Cech.
RB: Hector Bellerín
The Spaniard has come under much scrutiny this season but with Mathieu Debuchy out of the picture, he has no one to challenge him. His starting spot is firmly consolidated, but regardless of that security, Arsene Wenger will be expecting a lot from the 22-year-old at Wembley.
CB: Shkodran Mustafi
The German is highly fortunate that both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are clearly not ready to be first team regulars. His performances this season haven’t been assured and on many an occasion, his rashness has cost the Gunners dearly.
CB: Laurent Koscielny
With an incompetent defensive partner next to him, Laurent Koscielny will have to do the job of two men against Tottenham. But if there’s anyone capable of doing such, it’s the 32-year-old.
LB: Nacho Monreal
The Spaniard’s attacking contributions down the left is crucial for Arsenal’s progression up the pitch. His off the ball movement gives Arsenal’s midfield an ever-present passing option to help spreadplay.
CDM: Jack Wilshere
It’s time for Arsene Wenger to cut his losses with Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international hasn’t performed competently this season and Jack Wilshere does not deserve to be dropped for such an enormous game. The Englishman’s inclusion in the starting XI would give Arsenal an all attacking line-up.
CM: Aaron Ramsey
After scoring a hattrick last weekend, it’d be insanity to leave Aaron Ramsey out of the derby. In the heart of midfield, Ramsey will have to be disciplined enough to not leave his midfield partner vulnerable. However, we all know that Jack Wilshere is more positionally astute than Granit Xhaka. Arsenal fans have been crying out for a Ramsey-Wilshere pivot for years, here’s the perfect time for Wenger to implement such a daring tactic.
RW: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
On the counter-attack, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be key for the Gunners. His job will be to hit Tottenham on the break down the flanks after being given a through ball by Mesut Ozil.
CAM: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has often been cited as a weakness for Arsenal in big games. Some say he takes a backseat in top six clashes often refusing to work hard off the ball. However, this season, the German has become an integral part of Arsenal’s play both on and off the ball.
LW: Alexandre Lacazette
It’s time for Arsene Wenger to fully utilise the attacking tools he has at his disposal. There’s no point having a 37-goal a season striker sitting on the bench at Wembley. Lacazette may not have the pace to be an out and out winger, but from the left, he could act as a second striker.
ST: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
With Lacazette by his side, Aubameyang would be deadly in a front two. He has the intelligence to know when to come deep and when to run in behind. Against Tottenham, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang will show the world how good he truly is in high-profile situations.