With the North London Derby coming up, excitement among the Arsenal fans is at an all time high. We have managed to beat the Spurs in all three of our meetings last season, and everyone wants that run to continue this season as well. Today we look at the predicted lineup for the game against our noisy neighbours.
Due to injury problems in the squad, several positions have just one player capable of playing. In other positions, lack of form and fitness also restrict Wenger’s choice. As such, our ideal playing XI against Tottenham is fairly easy to pick. But Wenger may choose to rest some of these players in order to have them fresh for the midweek fixture against Galatasaray, a must win European game.
A return to our more natural formation of 4-2-3-1 worked wonders against Aston Villa last weekend, and our players looked much more lively and threatening in that formation. As such, I believe that Wenger should retain that formation for the clash against the Spurs as well.
Here is the predicted lineup-
Chambers Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Sanchez Ozil Ox
As for the team, Szczesny is sure to start after being rested against Southampton. The Pole is our first choice keeper and Ospina is not yet fully ready to challenge him for his place in the first team.
The defensive line pretty much picks itself. Chambers is almost certain to fill the right back role as Mertesacker and Koscielny return to claim their places in the centre of defence. Gibbs is the obvious choice for the left back role. Another possible pick could be Hector Bellerin; the niggling injury being carried by Mertesacker could see him rested and Chambers play in central defence. In this scenario Bellerin would play as right back; however this is an unlikely scenario. While Bellerin is extremely fast and capable of getting behind the Spurs defence, he is still inexperienced in big game scenarios.
In the holding midfield, Arteta and Ramsey seem like the best picks. While Arteta is capable of staying back and aiding with the defence, Ramsey can go forward during attacks and control the flow of play with his passing ability. However, a problem could arise since we lack any strong tacklers in our team, with Flamini and Diaby not match fit. A strong tackler like Flamini would have been very useful against the physical presence of Dembele in the Tottenham midfield. Also, Arteta has shown his vulnerability to speedy attackers in the past, and the Tottenham forwards are particularly fast.
In the advanced midfield, Ozil is the obvious choice as No. 10. He was finally played in his preferred position behind the striker against Aston Villa, and promptly turned in a man of the match performance with a goal and an assist. Out wide, Sanchez has impressed ever since his transfer and should retain his place on the right wing. However, Wenger may choose to rest him and play the Ox there instead.
If Sanchez starts on the right, I would pick the Ox to start on the left. However, if the Ox starts on the right, then the left wing position will probably be filled by Cazorla. Podolski can’t really be considered after his performance against Southampton was disappointing to say the least.
Up front, the choice is simple. Danny Welbeck should reprise his role, and Wenger will be hoping he picks up where he left off last week. An early goal from the Englishman would go a long way in helping the Gunners secure another win in the North London Derby.