Arsenal take on Tottenham in the North London Derby this weekend and ahead of the clash we’ve chosen our combined XI from both squads.
Both teams are unbeaten after five Premier League fixtures, with Ange Postecoglou having inspired optimism at Spurs and Arsenal continuing to improve under Mikel Arteta.
With both bragging rights and Premier League points at stake, it promises to be a fascinating showdown in the capital.
Arsenal vs Tottenham: North London Derby Combined XI:
Goalkeeper: David Raya – Arsenal
David Raya could quite easily have been lining up for this weekend’s clash in opposite colour, with Spurs having been interested in the Spanish shot-stopper before his move to Arsenal.
Raya’s arrival at Arsenal has been a major talking point in recent weeks, with the Spaniard having ousted Aaron Ramsdale from the side for the last two fixtures. Last season the 27-year-old led the Premier League for saves and save percentage at Brentford, while he has built a reputation as one of the best distributors in European football. The shirt looks his to lose after consecutive clean sheets.
Right-back: Ben White – Arsenal
Ben White has been consistently excellent for Arsenal across the last 12 months, but remains perhaps under-appreciated outside the Emirates. The 25-year-old is positionally flexible and often faultless in possession, recording a 97% pass accuracy during the midweek win over PSV Eindhoven.
Gareth Southgate continues to overlook White despite his credentials as an international defender, but Mikel Arteta’s faith in the defender is evident.
Centre-back: Cristian Romero – Tottenham
Lionel Messi called Cristian Romero ‘the best defender in the world right now’ recently, while Ange Postecoglou said the Spurs squad ‘don’t like training against’ the centre-back due to his competitive edge.
Who are we to argue?
The stats show improvement in Romero’s occasionally overzealous defending, with the Argentine having made just one foul so far this season. Last season he topped the Premier League for fouls among central defenders (42).
Centre-back: William Saliba – Arsenal
Rolls-Royce is a term often overused when describing cool and confident defenders, but for William Saliba it’s a fitting description.
The Arsenal centre-back often makes thwarting top centre-forwards appear effortless, with an ability to shift through the gears and remain ice-cool under pressure. One of Europe’s best emerging defenders, his potential should excite the Emirates.
William Saliba getting himself out of trouble against PSV…
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) September 21, 2023
Left-back: Oleksandr Zinchenko – Arsenal
Destiny Udogie already appears a star in the making for Spurs, but it’s difficult to overlook Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back. The Ukraine international has emerged as unlikely leader for Arsenal, with his arrival transformative for the Gunners last season.
Zinchenko’s intelligence allows him to invert into midfield as Arsenal exert control, while the 26-year-old has already shown signs of a strong understanding with Declan Rice. Crucial to the tactical plan of Mikel Arteta.
Midfield: Declan Rice – Arsenal
The statement signing from Arsenal’s summer business, the Gunners broke their transfer record to sign Declan Rice from West Ham.
Rice wasted no time in endearing himself to the Emirates, with a last-gasp winner against Manchester United the highlight of his time in north London to date.
The 24-year-old leads his Arsenal teammates for distance covered, tackles and interceptions and progressive carries this season.
Midfield: Yves Bissouma – Tottenham
Sometimes it just takes the right manager for it all to click into place. After a difficult first season at Spurs, Yves Bissouma has been revitalised following the arrival of Ange Postecoglou.
Bissouma has been bossing Premier League midfields during the opening weeks of the campaign, leading the division among midfielders for combined tackles and interceptions and ranking second for dribbles completed.
It’s been some renaissance.
Yves Bissouma amongst midfielders in the Premier League so far this season [rank]:
27 tackles + interceptions [🥇]
11 interceptions [🥇]
11 tackles won [🥈]
11 dribbles completed [=🥈]
What a start to the season. 🦾 pic.twitter.com/ICEPj677h1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 15, 2023
Midfield: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal
Martin Odegaard signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal this week, a huge deal for the Gunners considering his influence on this team.
Odegaard was a surprise selection as club captain ahead of last season, but the Norwegian has grown into the role and taken his game to new levels. Always a talent, Odegaard has evolved into a complete midfielder, one whose close control and low centre of gravity allows him to escape pressure in the final third.
Who else is excited for more Martin Odegaard magic? 🪄 pic.twitter.com/SqLzunQkB1
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 22, 2023
Right-wing: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
It’s easy to forget that Bukayo Saka is still just 22-years-old.
Irreplaceable for club and country, Saka can already claim to be one of Europe’s most effective wide options. Last season the winger provided 25 goals and assists in 38 Premier League games, part of a club-record run of 85 consecutive league appearances. No player in the Premier League is on a longer unbroken run.
Saka has looked fearless from the moment he broke into the Arsenal team. It is part of the reason he is one of the most watchable wingers in world football right now.
Left-wing: James Maddison – Tottenham
James Maddison has been moved slightly out of position to accommodate our midfield three, but the midfielder deserves his place in our combined XI after a superb start at Spurs.
Maddison was named as the Premier League’s Player of the Month for August after opening his career at Spurs with two goals and two assists in five league games. The 26-year-old has looked instantly at home in Ange Postecoglou’s plan, with his confidence in possession and creative spark already hallmarks of a new look Spurs side.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 15, 2023
Forward: Son Heung-min – Tottenham
Son Heung-min starts at centre-forward in our north London derby XI, a role the South Korean could fill on a full-time basis after the departure of long-time accomplice Harry Kane. Son is one of the sharpest shooters in the division and underlined his qualities with a hat-trick against Burnley earlier this month.
The 31-year-old – named as Spurs’ new club captain this season – has now scored 106 goals in the Premier League, a record for an Asian footballer and more than both Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo. No player in Premier League history has also scored more weaker foot goals.
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