The Gunners will host Tottenham in the North London Derby on Saturday knowing that a win would put them in a great position for the title race.
Tottenham are one of 4 clubs towards the top of the table and an Arsenal win would at least create some space between them and their arch rivals as Arsene Wenger’s men look to pull away from the crowded top of the table. With the big game just a couple of days away, I look at the lineup that I would like to see on Sunday.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
He’s been a long way from his best so far this season, but Arsenal really need Cech to be at his best in this game.
Defence: Hector Bellerin, Skhodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal
Bellerin is likely to be fit again so should definitely start at right back, whilst there are injury concerns over Monreal and Gibbs, whoever is the most fit should start the game. Mustafi and Koscielny must continue at the heart of the defence – Tottenham haven’t been good in attack of late so they need to just ensure they make no mistakes and defend with aggression – we need a performance like against Chelsea from these two.
Midfield: Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi
Cazorla and Walcott will face late fitness tests, but both players need to play for Arsenal to be at full strength. I think both could’ve perhaps made the trip to Bulgaria but Wenger wanted to make sure that they’d be fit for this fixture – hopefully that is the case and both start. Whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain has perhaps been in better form than Iwobi of late, the Nigerian may help more in the build up play for this game against a Tottenham defence that is very hard to break down and will probably sit deep. With Iwobi only playing a small part in the mid-week game he will be fit and ready for this one. Ozil’s inclusion goes without saying and I’d lean towards Coquelin over Xhaka because of temperament in this feisty affair.
Striker: Alexis Sanchez
Giroud’s scored 3 in 2 since his return, and his time will come, but Arsenal play much better football with Alexis at number 9 and for me, he needs to start this game. Giroud has only just come back and he played 90 minutes in midweek. Get Alexis on and putting pressure on the Tottenham defence high up the pitch.
Special mention: If we cannot break down a defensively solid Tottenham team, then we will again look for our reliable plan B which is Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman is a real asset and alternative to the Gunners attacking force. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also offer contrasting midfield options on a strong Arsenal bench.