Preview: Spurs v Arsenal, Team News, Line-Ups & Prediction

By on March 4, 2016
per mertesacker arsenal

Time for Mertesacker to earn the armband

It’s make or break time for Arsenal as we head to White Hart Lane on Saturday for possibly the most important North London derby in recent memory.

Wednesday’s debacle against Swansea has put a huge dent in our title push as we now sit three points off second-placed Spurs and six adrift of leaders Leicester City with ten games left to play.

Defeat tomorrow would not only see us fall even further behind but it would also inflict a catastrophic physiological blow to the players. We’re already low enough following defeats to Man Utd and Swansea but losing at Spurs could tip us over the edge.

However, a win would have the opposite effect and could finally instill belief in the players that we can win the title this season. With Leicester sitting top, I’ve got no idea why the players DON’T think they can win it, but even Sanchez admitted we lack the self-belief that we can go on to become champions.

Hopefully that will change tomorrow but it’s up to so-called ‘leaders’ such as Sanchez to make sure the players are up for every game and we need the likes of Mertesacker to step-up and lead this team.

Team News

We’ve been hit by a huge injury blow with the news that Cech has been ruled out for at least three weeks with a calf injury that he suffered on Wednesday night, so Ospina will start between the sticks.

Koscielny is also still out with his own calf injury so Gabriel will once again partner Mertesacker at the back.

Wilshere is still 3-4 weeks away from recovering from his long-term leg injury so he’s still out along with Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rosicky.

As for Spurs, they will welcome back Alli and Dembele so their only absentees will be Vertonghen and N’Jie. Lucky them.

Preferred line-up

The back five picks itself and while the central midfield area clearly isn’t working right now, I don’t see how we can change things with Cazorla and Wilshere out. Elneny is an option but he’s not the deep-lying playmaker we need and this is too big a game to take a risk on him.

The big decision is how to get the attack clicking again. Campbell deserves to keep his place ahead of Walcott and I’d go with Welbeck instead of Giroud up top.

For those who care, this is how Spurs should line-up:

Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Lamela, Kane.


North London derbies are almost impossible to predict as form goes out the window and literally anything can happen on the day. It would be so-Arsenal to turn up an nick a 2-1 win but we could just as easily get spanked 4-0.

We played alright in the first half on Wednesday but the unjust Swansea equaliser seemed to really affect us and it’s vital we don’t let our heads drop if we concede early tomorrow. We HAVE to keep the belief alive or it could get very messy.

As defeat just doesn’t bear thinking about and we desperately need a win to get back in the title race, I’m going to back the boys to bring home all three points. Positive thinking and all that…

Spuds 1-2 Arsenal


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