Combined XI: Tottenham vs Arsenal

Tottenham and Arsenal will each go into the North London derby this weekend with points to prove.

The rivals have both had horror seasons, with Arsenal sitting in eighth place, one place ahead of Spurs.

Both clubs have sacked their managers mid-season, meaning both sets of players have had to react and adapt to new tactics and new ways of playing.

It has very much been a season of transition for two of England’s biggest clubs, but there are still some top quality individuals on both sides.

Here, we will attempt to create a combined Spurs/Arsenal XI.

Selection is based on form over the last number of years, although this season means more than two seasons ago, for example.

Injured players are available for selection.


Bernd Leno

All rights reserved by the Evening Standard

The goalkeeper spot is a tough choice between two players who could possibly be considered in the top five keepers in the league.

Hugo Lloris has only played 17 times this season due to injury while Bernd Leno has made 30 appearances for Arsenal.

Both have had relatively good seasons, as well as very good careers. Lloris especially, as he is a World Cup-winning captain.

German keeper Leno, in particular, has had to deal with a woeful defence in front of him. He has bailed the Gunners out on numerous occasions this season

Leno edges this battle due to his form this year.

While Lloris is certainly on the decline at 33-years-old, Leno is yet to reach his peak.

A tough call, but the Arsenal man takes it.


Serge Aurier

All right reserved by HITC

Another tight call is made tougher due to Hector Bellerin’s injury struggles in recent years.

Serge Aurier takes some stick due to his defensive frailties, but his attacking form in the second half of this season sees him included in this North London XI.

Aurier has five assists in the league this season, compared to Bellerin’s one.

The Ivorian does get caught sleeping at times, but is actually quite effective when defending one-on-ones – he makes 3.2 tackles and interceptions per game in the league.

Had Bellerin not missed almost a year of action due to an ACL rupture, he would probably have taken this spot.

In reality, neither option is fantastic in the present and both players were performing better a few years ago.


Davinson Sanchez

All right reserved by HITC

Centre-back may well be the hardest positions to fill, but for all the wrong reasons.

Arsenal’s ageing trio of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis have all come under fire in the last number of years.

Meanwhile, Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen has had a massive drop off of his own this season.

Davinson Sanchez has also declined recently, with Jose Mourinho preferring Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga as Toby Alderweireld’s partner at times this season.

However, Sanchez has shown his quality for a number of years now and at 24, he will most certainly improve over the next few seasons.

He does have a mistake in him, but so do all of the other options. Sanchez has the benefit of pace to make up for it, the others do not.


Toby Alderweireld

All rights reserved by Goal

Toby Alderweireld is not the same player as he was four years ago, but he is still comfortably the best centre-back in North London.

Like pretty much every other contender for this position, the Belgian has had better seasons.

At 31, there is still time for him to find his best form in order to cement his place in any future combined XI’s.


Kieran Tierney

All rights reserved by the Evening Standard

This is a choice between the solid but unspectacular Ben Davies or a man who has impressed in his few appearances this season.

Kieran Tierney established himself as one of the best young left-backs in Europe at Celtic, but he never really came up against a big test in Scotland.

Signed by Arsenal for £24.3 million last summer, Gunners fans would have hoped to had seen much more of the Isle of Man-born player this season.

Injury prevented them from doing so, but he has been immense since football’s post-coronavirus return.

He has shown that he is capable of playing in the Premier League, but his time at Celtic would have probably seen him included anyway.


Giovanni Lo Celso

All rights reserved by the HITC

On paper, midfield may be the deepest position of both Arsenal and Tottenham.

Both teams have fantastic midfielders, yet their respective managers have somehow not made the most of them by playing the correct system.

An Arsenal trio of Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi should be one of the best in the league, yet, for one reason or another, it hasn’t been tried.

Similarly at Spurs, a Gio Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele double-pivot behind Dele Alli has world-class potential.

Lo Celso has been played as a no.10 for the most part but is also capable of playing the 6, while his best position is in the box-to-box role.

He has shown his class in spells this season, and would undoubtedly do so regularly if he got the chance to do so.

He may well be the best midfielder in North London.


Dani Ceballos

All rights reserved by Sky Sports

Another player played out-of-position in the no.10 role at times, Dani Ceballos made his name as an aggressive, deep-lying playmaker at Real Betis.

In 2016/17 at Betis, Ceballos made a staggering 5 tackles & interceptions per game, at only 20-years-old.

He is certainly better suited to playing here than behind the striker.

Granit Xhaka’s good last few months do not make up for the last few years of mediocrity, but he would make this team in future if he kept up his current form.


Tanguy Ndombele

All rights reserved by Sky Sports

This is where the form vs quality argument comes into play.

Tanguy Ndombele’s issues with Jose Mourinho this season have been well-documented.

He has only made 12 league starts, featuring a further nine times from the bench.

He has been accused of being lazy and in truth, he is not a Mourinho-style midfielder.

But all one has to do is look at his time for Lyon, and it is clear that he has the potential to be world-class.

He was one of the best midfielders in Europe last season and is still only 23.

Expect him to prove himself in the coming years.


Heung-Min Son

All rights reserved by Squawka

Yes, Son is more comfortable on the left, but there is no way that he can be left out of this team.

He would certainly be able to do a job on the right, using his pace and power to create chances rather than score them.

His inclusion is a no-brainer, although if Nicolas Pepe had continued his 2018/19 form he could have pushed Son hard for a place in this combined North London XI.


Harry Kane

All rights reserved by Goal

It is difficult to gauge exactly where Harry Kane is at this moment in time.

Jose Mourinho’s tactics seem more and more negative as time goes on, which means that Kane’s average position is getting further and further away from where he should be – in and around the 18-yard-box.

The Englishman has suffered a decline in recent years, mainly due to his injury struggles.

On his day, he can still be a lethal finisher and one of the best strikers on the planet. But these days are becoming few and far between.

He will have to improve if he wants to lead England at Euro 2021.

He still makes the team due to his past exploits.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

All rights reserved by the Premier League

We could have put Aubameyang up front and stuck Bukayo Saka out wide, but ultimately, this front three would be one of the best in the world if they were all on top form.

Despite all the uncertainty at the Emirates this year, the Gabonese forward has continued to deliver.

His 20 goals in 32 games mean that he will once again be in Golden Boot contention come the end of the season.

He is still one of the world’s most lethal players, even when played out of position on the left.

It is no wonder that the club are desperate to keep him in North London.


Hugo Lloris, Pablo Mari, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Moussa Sissoko, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette

- Advertisment -


Leicester City: Season Review So Far

Leicester City are a Premier League team that certainly possess loads of proven potential. Having completed the 2020/21 season in 5th position and narrowly missing...

Liverpool vs Inter Milan: 3 Main Talking Points

The Reds were in action once again this week as the team’s immensely busy fixture list continued. It was the Italian underdogs, Inter Milan, who...

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return is amazing news for the Premier League

Having Cristiano Ronaldo back in the Premier League has increased the excitement factor and should make this one of the most thrilling title races...