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Sep 1, 2019 at 4.30pm UK
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Combined XI: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

:Headline: Combined XI: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur:
Ahead of Sunday's Premier League showdown between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from the two squads.
By | 1mo

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are set to face off in the first North London derby of the new season on Sunday.

The fierce rivals met each other three times across all competitions last term, managing one win apiece as well as a draw.

The Gunners came out on top at home in a thrilling 4-2 Premier League clash before losing 2-0 in the EFL Cup and recording a 1-1 draw in the reverse league fixture.

This time, the pair meet very early in the season and both will be keen to earn what could be a crucial three points in the top-four race, as well as some bragging rights.

Here, Sports Mole has selected its strongest combined XI from the two squads, using only players available this weekend.

Both sides have excellent goalkeepers in the form of Hugo Lloris and Bernd Leno - both are capable of incredible saves and have the ability to help their sides play out from the back as well. However, the Frenchman has allowed errors to creep into his game over the past season or two and, for that reason, Leno - who produced a memorable double-save in the 1-1 draw last season - gets the nod.

At left-back, Ben Davies is often on the bench for Spurs, while at Arsenal Sead Kolasinac has shown defensive lapses on occasion and an ageing Nacho Monreal is not the player he once, meaning Danny Rose is the pick.

On the opposite flank, injury keeps obvious choice Hector Bellerin out, while Kyle Walker-Peters is also sidelined and Mauricio Pochettino appears to have so little faith in Serge Aurier that he is set to use midfielder Moussa Sissoko on Sunday instead, meaning Ainsley Maitland-Niles gets in with hardly any competition.

At centre-back, the obvious pairing is Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. There have been exit rumours surrounding both, with the former yet to play a minute and the latter having a release clause this summer that was not triggered. However, they are both quality players and a class above the personnel Arsenal have available for selection, with the Gunners' defensive issues well-documented.

Given the wealth of attacking talent at both teams' disposal, we've opted for a gung-ho 4-4-2/4-2-4 formation, but in the interests of tactical balance, the central midfield pairing will need to be comprised of at least one outright defensive midfielder, although a player capable of holding their own in a deeper role whilst still providing creativity can be considered. This means that Spurs duo Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, whilst fine footballers, will not be eligible for this role as they primarily play further forward or as attack-minded players in a central midfield three.

Tanguy Ndombele appears set to miss the clash through injury and Eric Dier's form in recent seasons has declined, making Lucas Torreira - who scored the fourth when Arsenal won 4-2 at the Emirates last season - our choice as the defensive midfielder. Next to him, Dani Ceballos has enjoyed a bright start to his Gunners career, being named man of the match with two assists in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Burnley and gets in ahead of Sissoko, Harry Winks, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock and Granit Xhaka.

On the flanks, the goalscoring exploits of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could not be ignored, as well as the talent and quality of Son Heung-min, meaning that Nicolas Pepe and Lucas Moura miss out. Up front, the strike partnership of Harry Kane and Alexandre Lacazette is an easy choice and has everything from goals to work-rate and build-up play. Last season, that front four hit a whopping total of 64 Premier League goals between them.

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9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
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16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
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