The North London derby on Saturday night will see Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Emirates to take on an Arsenal side short of confidence at the moment. Arsenal sit just two points above Tottenham in the Premier League table, but given their recent record in North London derbies has been impressive, Arsene Wenger’s side will start as favorites having clinched the last three battles for the bragging rights in North London.
So, to build up the excitement for the late kickoff on Saturday, we have decided to wear our fantasy football manager’s hat and pick a combined XI between the two bitter London rivals. Here’s you Combined North London Derby XI for the first derby of the season.
Formation : 4-2-3-1
Little argument in this one. Wozceich Szczesny is no muck with the gloves, but the Spurs skipper is one of the best keepers in the world. Alert off his line and a brilliant shot stopper.
Dier, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs.
Eric Dier would get the nod at right back, edging out Calum Chambers on current form although it would’ve been a call between Kyle Walker and Mathieu Debuchy if both were fit. Per Mertesacker had a fantastic World Cup with Germany, which eventually ended on a winning note. And even in the twilight of his career, the German remains a difficult customer to outfox on the pitch. The other spot sees a close call between Laurent Koscielny and Jan Vertonghen, but on current form, the Frenchman makes it to the Combined XI. The dynamic Kieran Gibbs edges out Tottenham’s Danny Rose at left back, given Gibbs is a touch more responsible in a defensive sense.
Capoue, Ramsey, Sanchez, Ozil, Eriksen.
The anchoring role would go to Etienne Capoue who pips Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta to a place in the team. Capoue likes to keep things ticking in midfield and would allow the attacking talents to flourish in front of him. Aaron Ramsey may not have been at his best in recent times, but his goals and assists record from last season speaks volumes of his ability to take and create chances. Mesut Ozil’s indifferent displays have come under the scanner in recent times, but given the license to play in his favourite No.10 role, the silky German can be an irresistible force.
Alexis Sanchez may not have been at his very best since coming to England for a record amount, but his tally of four goals in nine games is enough to justify over Erik Lamela. Cristian Eriksen will play on the left side of the attacking midfield threesome. The Dane has an eye for the intricate pass and likes to find spaces in the attacking third. Gibbs’ pace on the left flank should complement Eriksen’s style.
Danny Welbeck has not made a significant impact since switching cities and so Emmanuel Adebayor remains the only quality option as the lone man upfront. Adebayor’s aerial ability and ability to hold the ball makes him perfect for a 4-2-3-1 formation and with the likes of Ozil and Sanchez capable of supplying quality into the box, Adebayor would cherish a run out for the Combined XI.