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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Tottenham vs Arsenal – North London Derby Combined XI

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Tottenham and Arsenal meet in a North London Derby for the ages this weekend, with this considered a must-win for both teams.

Spurs have seen the gap to the Champions League places grow to six points, though have two games in hand on Aston Villa, while Arsenal are in the midst of a tense title race.

There’s no room for error in a derby that has regularly delivered in the Premier League era. Ahead of their latest clash, we’ve selected our Tottenham and Arsenal Combined XI.

Goalkeeper: Guglielmo Vicario – Tottenham

Guglielmo Vicario has been a brilliant signing for Tottenham this season with the shot-stopper a relative unknown to the casual fan before the campaign. Since arriving from Empoli, he has impressed with his sweeper-keeper style and agile reflexes.

The 27-year-old made his Italy debut in March, keeping a clean sheet against Ecuador, and ranks third in the Premier League for Post-shot expected goals, the fancy metric designed to discover how likely a goalkeeper is to save the shot.

How good has Guglielmo Vicario’s start to life at @SpursOfficial been? ✨ pic.twitter.com/mZd2c4Mqyv

— Premier League (@premierleague) January 9, 2024

David Raya deserves a mention for his improvement and leads the Golden Glove race, though Vicario has arguably been the better individual performer behind a much more vulnerable defence.

Right-back: Ben White – Arsenal

Ben White continues to go under the radar as a crucial cog in the Arsenal team. He has been one of the most reliable right-backs in the league since shifting to a wider role, offering his side tactical flexibility and assuredness in possession.

Two goals in Tuesday’s win over Chelsea also extended his record to eight goals and assists for the campaign, more than Trent Alexander-Arnold. England should find a solution to the issue with White, who could be a real asset this summer.

Mikel’s reaction to Ben White’s second goal 😅

Bench Cam 🔜 pic.twitter.com/sB2sEkXAxA

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 25, 2024

Centre-back: William Saliba – Arsenal

Arsenal boast the division’s best defensive record and the centre-back axis of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes has been crucial to that. A complementary pairing, Saliba oozes calm in possession and the athleticism to match opposition forwards in a footrace.

Still just 23, Saliba already sits among the very best centre-backs in world football. He might claim that status outright in the coming campaigns.

Centre-back: Gabriel Magalhaes – Arsenal

Gabriel has brought a warrior-like presence alongside Saliba this season and the big Brazilian has been every bit as impressive as his defensive partner. The 26-year-old has broken into the Brazil team and scored his first goal for the Seleaco in October, continuing an impressive ascent.

A leader for Mikel Arteta, his game has matured across the last two seasons. Spurs supporters might argue that Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven have higher talent ceilings but Gabriel has been a standout for their north London rivals this season.

Left-back: Jakub Kiwior – Arsenal

Jakub Kiwior has emerged from a bit-part role to take a prominent place in Arsenal’s title challenge. The Poland international has replaced Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back, offering a greater physical presence to the Gunners in both boxes. In the absence of Jurrien Timber, Zinchenko at Takehiro Tomiyasu for periods this season, he has stepped up.

Midfield: Declan Rice – Arsenal

Declan Rice decided Arsenal was the best move for his career last summer after agreeing to join the club from West Ham in a £105m deal. That fee has not proven to be inflated and Rice is in the running for the Player of the Year awards.

He is a powerful presence, covers the ground brilliantly, and is strong in duels, while his all-round game has been showcased in a more expansive team. Far from just a ball-winner, he is an elite box-to-box option and has six goals and six assists in the Premier League this season.

Bend it like Declan 🤩 pic.twitter.com/2AHDOpqDS3

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 22, 2023

Midfield: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal

Martin Odegaard has matured into an example to follow for Arsenal, with the club captain industrious off the ball and a delight to watch in possession.

He leads Europe’s top five leagues for open-play chances created, passes into the penalty area, and successful through balls this season, and has eight goals and eight assists in the Premier League. The Norwegian’s assist for Kai Havertz earlier this week was sublime, an arcing pass that cut open the Chelsea defence.

The assist. The finish 😍

Odegaard 🤝 Havertz pic.twitter.com/OShpUMrnvD

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 24, 2024

Midfield: James Maddison – Tottenham

James Maddison made the move to Spurs last summer and started the season with a bang, emerging as one of the signings of the campaign after an influential start under Ange Postecoglou. A long-term ankle issue stalled his progress and Maddison is yet to return to those levels, though the 27-year-old has the talent to decide this weekend’s derby.

He has four goals and seven assists in the Premier League this season and will want a strong run-in to confirm his place for England at Euro 2024.

Right-wing: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

Bukayo Saka has taken his game up another level at Arsenal this season with the 22-year-old almost always involved in the club’s best attacking performances.

The England winger is one of seven Premier League players to have reached 30+ goal involvements in all competitions and the second-youngest to have done so, after Chelsea’s Cole Palmer.

He needs one more assist to reach 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the Premier League in successive seasons.

Left-wing: Son Heung-min – Tottenham

Son Heung-min will captain Tottenham in this weekend’s derby and the South Korean has a fine recent record in this fixture. Son scored twice in the meeting at the Emirates earlier in the campaign and has six goals in his last eight against Arsenal.

The 31-year-old was named club captain in the summer and has taken to the role, leading Spurs into a new era under Ange Postecoglou. This season, he has climbed to fifth among the club’s all-time leading scorers, with 160 in all competitions and counting.

Son Heung-min’s record in his last 21 Premier League appearances is remarkable 🤯@Sonny7 | @SpursOfficial pic.twitter.com/S39GAkbB83

— Premier League (@premierleague) March 15, 2024

One of the best finishers in Europe at his best, Son has outperformed his xG this season by a remarkable +5.02.

Forward: Kai Havertz – Arsenal

Few would have envisaged Kai Havertz taking centre stage in Arsenal’s title challenge just a few months ago, after a tricky start for the German at the Emirates. Signed from Chelsea, an underwhelming opening few months in midfield led some to label his signing a mistake.

Since moving to centre-forward to ease Arsenal’s issues in the final third, he has excelled. The 24-year-old has seven goals and four assists in his last 11 league appearances and haunted former side Chelsea with a well-taken brace earlier this week.

✅ Marquee Arsenal signing
✅ Scored a brace against Chelsea at the Emirates

Kai Havertz 🤝 Alessia Russo pic.twitter.com/d8Dmgn1Uci

— 433 (@433) April 24, 2024

Read – Eight unforgettable North London Derby moments

See more – Five of the best North London derby goals in the Premier League era

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