Spurs vs Arsenal: Combined XI
Posted by Aaron C-Reid | Published on March 3, 2016
Saturday sees Spurs host Arsenal in the biggest North London Derby ever. With Tottenham only three points off Leicester they need a win if they want to challenge for the league. Similarly, Arsenal must win or they will be completely out of the title race. The game looks to be an exciting encounter and could potentially decide which way the title goes. This is my combined XI between the two North London sides.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech
This is incredibly close. Both Cech and Lloris have been superb this season. Each keeper has risen to the occasion several times this term. Making fantastic stops and acting as another line of defence. Cech just edges it for me as he has kept more clean sheets, at 12. He also has had to make more saves, at 88, compared to Lloris’ 64. That tells a lot about the teams’ defenses as Arsenal’s is much more vulnerable. I think Petr Cech has been the best goalkeeper this season and has proved to be an excellent acquisition for the Gunners.
Right Back – Kyle Walker
Some may be surprised that Walker gets in over Hector Bellerin but personally I think that Walker is better at defending. It may seem like an obvious thing but many full backs these days don’t do enough defending in my eyes. Due to this, I have excluded Bellerin as he bombs forward too often for my liking. Walker has had an excellent season. After being plagued by injury in recent years, the England international has re-established some kind of form and has cemented his place in the Tottenham team.
Centre Back – Laurent Koscielny
Laurent Koscielny just beats Jan Vertonghen to this spot. I do rate the Belgian very highly but Koscielny has proved himself to be a class act in recent years. Even if he hasn’t had the best few weeks Koscielny has all the attributes that a great centre-back needs. His pace and power, combined with his brilliant reading of the game and tackling ability make him one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Centre Back – Toby Alderweireld
This is an easy one for me. Alderweireld has proven to be a fantastic signing for Spurs. Having signed for a mere £11.5 million the Belgian has shown that he is one of the bargains of the year. Alderweireld has displayed his superb talents as a top class defender and in my opinion has been the best defender this year by a country mile.
Left Back – Nacho Monreal
Monreal has been someone who consistently performs every week. His performances go under the radar but if you ask any Arsenal fan they will tell you how good this man has been. Starting attacks, as well as nullifying the opposition, he is the definition of a complete full back.
Defensive Midfield – Eric Dier
If you had asked me a few months ago who was better Francis Coquelin or Eric Dier. I would have said Coquelin, in an instant. However, Dier has adapted to his new midfield role in brilliant fashion. His tough-tackling, great vision and threat from set pieces have illustrated his outstanding potential.
Central Midfielder – Santi Cazorla
The little Spaniard may be injured and missed a large chunk of the season but that doesn’t stop him from strolling into this team. Since he has been injured Arsenal have crumbled. They depend on his unbelievable passing range, tricky dribbling and interceptions. Arsenal will hope Cazorla can make a speedy recovery and be back as soon as possible.
Right Attacking Midfield – Dele Alli
The rise of Dele Alli has been astonishing. From a bright spark in the lower leagues to becoming one of the players of the season in the big time. Scoring 7 and assisting 5 in his 21 league starts, he has been incredible. The young man will hope to be on the plane to France and has an exciting career ahead of him.
Central Attacking Midfielder – Mesut Özil
From zero to hero, Mesut Özil has risen from the shadows. After having a largely ineffective first couple of season at Arsenal, The German international has proved his worth this season. Assisting his teammates 18 times, as well as grabbing 5 goals, Özil has been a candidate for the player of the year. Without him Arsenal would be lost, as he seems to be the heartbeat of the team. He needs to be at his best if Arsenal want to upset Spurs on Saturday.
Left Wing – Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez has had a largely disappointing second season at Arsenal. After taking the league by storm, Sanchez has struggled so far. He has only scored in three league games and is struggling in front of goal. His confidence may be low but he is still a class act. The Chilean needs to step it up on Saturday as Arsenal fans seem to be getting frustrated at one of their star players.
Striker – Harry Kane
This is an easy one. While Olivier Giroud has failed to score in his last 10 appearances for Arsenal, Harry Kane has had another great season. With his first season being a huge hit the Englishman has continued to score goals for fun. After a shaky start to the year, Kane had grabbed 16 goals for Spurs. He has had a lot of success against Arsenal in the past and will be hoping that that continues.