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Arsenal v Spurs Preview, Team News, Preferred XI & Prediction
The big one has arrived. It’s time to stop worrying about transfers for 90 minutes as Tottenham arrive at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
Much of the pre-match talk has centered around the transfer dealings of the two north London clubs. While we’ve not spent a penny of our £70+m transfer budget, Spurs have splashed a record amount bringing in seven new players.
£100m, almost what they’ll recoup when Gareth Bale eventually moves to Real Madrid, has bought them quality and potential but no world class super-stars. Their starting eleven is stronger than last year, just, but I don’t see a match-winner like Bale and I can see that hurting them in the first few months.
They have half a new team and that takes time to gel. Plus, none of the newbies have felt the pressure of a north London derby before, so who knows how they will react. They have more threats over the pitch and more options on the bench, but I still back our eleven over theirs.
Two 1-0 wins, with both goals coming from penalties, is hardly something to worry about and for all our problems off the pitch, we’ve actually looked pretty good on it since the debacle against Villa.
We have several injuries to contend with. Currently the treatment room is filled by Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, Thomas Vermaelen and Lukas Podolski – who’s been ruled out for up to 10 weeks.
Yes, injuries have cursed us again but there is no excuse for having no depth in the squad to cope. The bench is going to be filled with kids, and possibly Mathieu Flamini who completed his free transfer move on Thursday.
Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have been passed fit after picking up knocks in midweek. Laurent Koscielny is also expected to come back in alongside Per Mertesacker with Sagna moving back out to right-back.
As for the visitors, they are expected to field several of their summer signings with the likes of Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho all likely to start.
There is of course no Bale, which takes away half their attacking threat. They signed another three new faces on Friday but none are expected to start.
This isn’t so much a ‘preferred XI’ as the ‘Only XI’. We have very little option but to field this team. I’ve also included the possible Spurs line-up to compare on paper what the two teams will look like.
For all the money and new signings, I still don’t think the Spurs eleven is any better than ours. We’re missing a few players to injury and they will have the likes of Eriksen and Lamela to come in, but the two sides remain very closely matched. No doubt they have a far stronger bench on Sunday but only eleven men can play, and I’m still going to back us at home to get a result.
As long as we can keep eleven men on the field, I think our cohesion will see us come good. The Spurs team haven’t been playing together long and the slightest detail can affect the result. Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham!
What would be your team and what do you think the score will be?