North London Derby: Who makes our combined Arsenal and Spurs XI?Published November 4, 2016
Ahead of the first North London derby of the season, we’ve decided to pick a combined XI made out of Arsenal and Spurs players. It’s bound to lead to some debate but this team would take some beating.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
The French stopper has been in excellent form this season and is a vital part of Spurs’ magnificent defensive record. Crucial saves against the likes of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League will live long in the memory. Petr Cech is a good goalkeeper but a man five years his junior is at the top of his game.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
Kyle Walker is a good right-back. Hector Bellerin is better. There’s a reason Barcelona want their academy graduate back. He’s been a revelation in the Arsenal first team and the Premier League since breaking into the senior squad.
Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny
What we’ve decided to do is select one centre-half from each team as right now both Arsenal and Spurs have fantastic first-choice centre-half pairings. So from the red side of North London, step forward Laurent Koscielny. Shkodran Mustafi has been brilliant since moving from Valencia in August and is bringing out the best in the Frenchman. He’s in the form of his career.
Centre-back: Toby Alderweireld
The absence of Alderweireld doesn’t seem that drastic when one considers how well Spurs have done defensively in his absence. But the Belgian helps the team in ways that aren’t immediately obvious. Aside from being a superb tackler, he’s also a good leader to have on the pitch. His very presence inspires confidence. We think he’s slightly better than Jan Vertonghen.
Left-back: Danny Rose
With no offence intended towards Danny Rose, there is a dearth of great left-backs in North London right now. Rose is probably the best of the lot. He deserves credit for transitioning so well from midfield to defence.
Defensive midfield: Victor Wanyama
The hulking Kenyan would sit in front of defence in this 4-1-2-3 formation. Granit Xhaka has started well at Arsenal but Wanyama has looked fantastic since completing a bargain £11 million move from Southampton in the summer. His shift in the win over Manchester City was notably impressive.
Central midfield: Dele Alli
Like the rest of the Spurs team, Alli has struggled since the last international break. Good chances fell to the midfielder, the kind that he would be expected to finish off, but he has repeatedly squandered them. At his best, he’s a roving, powerful box-to-box midfielder.
Central midfield: Mesut Ozil
Holy lederhosen, Ozil is red hot right now. The German playmaker scored one of the all-time great Champions League goals against Ludogorets in midweek, only a fortnight after hitting a hat-trick past the Bulgarian minnows. He looks as though he’s enjoying his football right now. So are we.
Right forward: Theo Walcott
This is an inclusion that will undoubtedly be slated and maybe with good reason. Walcott is almost a byword for inconsistency. However, credit where it’s due, he got off to a tremendous start to the season before getting injured. Maybe this will finally be the season where he kicks things up a notch.
Centre-forward: Harry Kane
Olivier Giroud is in terrific form at the minute. If he keeps that scoring rate up then he’ll surpass Harry Kane. For now, though, it’s the Spurs man who is top dog. Powerful, deceptively quick and positionally aware, Kane’s quality can be seen in Tottenham’s games without him. He’s a top quality centre-forward.
Left forward: Alexis Sanchez
The Chilean was sensational in his debut campaign in England. Then second-season syndrome hit him. He still managed to score 17 goals in all competitions but Arsenal fans knew he was capable of so much more. Now Alexis Sanchez is back to his best and could heap more misery on Mauricio Pochettino.