Arsenal v Tottenham: pick your lineups!

Written by Edward Pitt

March 13, 2021

Arteta will be approaching this North London derby a lot more relaxed after our stellar showing in the first leg of our Europa league tie with Olympiakos. Unlike in the previous round against Benfica, we take a very comfortable lead into Thursday’s game. Meaning we should be able to field a strong team without thinking with too much worry ahead of the second leg. Everyone has been saying that the Olympiakos game was bigger than the Spurs game and to an extent I agree. However, Spurs is still one of if not the biggest game in our season. For many years, it really wasn’t. Certainly when I was growing up I actually thought Man United was the bigger game. Spurs were just never particularly threatening. However, over the last few years Spurs have slightly had the edge on us in this fixture. I for one want to see that change, remembering that if we win it makes Spurs’ desire to finish in the top 4 that much harder for them. Here is how we should line up to do just that.

LENO: I’m sure we will see Ryan given some more chances in the remainder of the season, but for this game it has to be Leno. He’ll need to be on top form to stop the likes of Kane, Son and Bale

BELLERIN: Normally, I say I’d prefer Cedric. But for this particular game I want Bellerin. I was really impressed by him on Thursday. Furthermore, if anyone at the club knows what this fixture means it’s him

HOLDING: I’m not totally sure why we haven’t seen too much of Holding recently, but I hope he can return for this game. He is solid, passionate and a great leader. All those things are crucial in derby games. I just know he is the type of defender who will relish the opportunity to keep Kane quiet. I think back to the 2017 Cup Final when he bullied Diego Costa. I saw a whole new side to him that day

GABRIEL: That performance on Thursday night was nothing short of exemplary. So commanding. I think he is the best centre back at the club in terms of aerial ability, one on one defending and his quality on the ball. He brings all those crucial qualities together

TIERNEY: I mean he’s the only left back at the club so it kind of has to be him. Bale comes into this game on great form, but he hasn’t faced a left back as solid as KT in that time. This is a matchup that could help decide the game

PARTEY: He was pulled after 54 mins against Olympiakos, presumably to keep him fresh for this game. Spurs fans seem to think they have the best DM in the league with Hoijberg, but I have a feeling Partey will be proving them wrong this weekend

XHAKA: This is the kind of game where Xhaka flourishes. He knows what this game means and he leads so much that we do out there on the pitch. It’s the games where he knows he needs to concentrate and be at his best where we ultimately see the best out of him

SAKA: Tempting though it is to start Pepe, I would personally pick Saka. It will be his first NLD as a right winger and his first ever at the Emirates

SMITH ROWE: I think in this kind of game we need a guy to just do the simple things well. Odegaard is a silky player but perhaps at times he complicates things and gets dispossessed. Coming up to speed with English football will I’m sure come to him, but I want Smith Rowe in this one

AUBAMEYANG: Auba has been really impressive recently and showing glimpses of his true self. He has been playing through the middle, but I’m going to put him on the left. With KT in the side I think Auba is far more effective on the left allowed to drift into the channel

LACAZETTE: I couldn’t not leave Lacazette out. If Arteta does I think I’ll be really disappointed. He is so passionate and so tireless. He can drop deep, lay it off and keep our attacks flowing. He is the perfect player to have in a derby game. And to be fair, he has always been class in the NLD. In fact, of anyone in the side right now I’d say that over the last few years he has been the most consistent in the big games

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