North London prepares itself for another memorable duel as Arsenal host Tottenham at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
The September international break has now concluded and all of our attention has swiftly turned to domestic action. The upcoming North London derby is the first of nine scheduled October fixtures for the Gunners in what’s a hectic period up until the winter World Cup.
Arsenal were sublime during the first act of the Premier League season and they head into the weekend’s derby top of the table having lost just once. Spurs, however, are right on their tail and the upcoming bout could be a significant marker as to how the rest of the campaign plays out for both sides.
The home team has historically dominated this fixture, and many will fancy the table-toppers to overcome their arch-rivals on Saturday.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Tottenham
It’s poised to be an enthralling contest between two excellent managers and two highly-competitive sides. Here’s the starting XI Mikel Arteta could pick for the derby.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – Ramsdale has started every Premier League game so far this season and that trend will continue on Saturday.
Ben White (RB) – Takehiro Tomiyasu is a doubt for this one, but it’s unlikely that he would’ve started ahead of White, who’s been in fine form at the start of the season in an unfamiliar role.
William Saliba (CB) – It’s poised to be a big day for Saliba. Praise for the Frenchman has been ubiquitous so far, but he’ll face a stern test on Saturday. Arteta may ask Saliba to man-mark Son Heung-min, who’s suddenly rediscovered his most destructive form.
Gabriel (CB) – Gabriel will battle it out with Harry Kane once more in the derby. The Brazilian’s aggression could deter the Spurs star, but Gabriel mustn’t cross the line and get himself into trouble.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Kieran Tierney should be fit for the weekend, but I think Arteta will opt for the technical security of Zinchenko at left-back. The boss will want to establish total midfield control, and Zinchenko will occupy a central position for much of Saturday’s game in a bid to overload Spurs’ midfield two/three.
Thomas Partey (DM) – Partey appears to be fit and there’s no way he won’t start this one. The Ghanaian has a key role to play with the ball and in defensive transition for Arsenal against an elite counter-attacking side.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – Xhaka is now one of the first names on the team sheet.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – Fabio Vieira stepped in for Odegaard in the win at Brentford, but the Norwegian skipper was in action for his country over the break and is set to return to Arteta’s XI.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – It was a mixed break for Saka, but many have concluded that he has to start for England at the World Cup. Saka’s yet to ignite for Arsenal this season, but he’s shown signs in recent weeks of finding his most potent form.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – The Brazilian has scored just once against Tottenham in his career and this will be his first North London derby. Jesus has been brilliant for the Gunners thus far, but these are the games he needs to have a major impact in.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Well rested as he wasn’t in the Brazil squad, Martinelli will fancy his chances against the, admittedly, defensively sound Emerson Royal on Saturday. Cristian Romero represents a more imposing opponent for the ebullient Brazilian.