Coral’s north London XI: Arsenal and Spurs selections
North London derbies have thrown up some invariably high-scoring surprises over the years, so with Arsenal set to entertain Tottenham for the first time this season, Coral compile an all-star combined XI featuring fit and available players from both teams. That’s fit and available players.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
The captain of the French national team is arguably, on his day, one of the best custodians in the world and marshals his rearguard well. Also quick off his line, and a master in one-on-one situations, he is more of a ‘sweeper keeper’.
Right back: Calum Chambers
This lad has talent; no question about it. There is a reason Arsene Wenger paid Southampton £16m for the 19-year-old, who could become a prominent figure for England over the next few years. Showing versatility, he is also starting to show signs that he can, in time, do a job at centre back, while long term, Wenger may also see him as a potential defensive midfielder.
Centre back: Eric Dier
A credible goal threat, since returning to England from Sporting Lisbon, Dier got off to a flier scoring twice in Tottenham’s first two Premier League games. Comfortable on the ball, with the ability to read the pattern of play, and can also finish with the panache of a striker.
Centre back: Per Mertesacker
A crucial component of Arsenal’s defence for the last couple of seasons, he marshals his team with as much effect as a captain. Adding steel and organisation to the defence, the German is also a threat from set pieces, and will once again be key to the Gunners’ campaign.
Left back: Jan Vertonghen
Versatile, intelligent, and adept with the ball at his feet, the 27-year-old has been a revelation since joining from Ajax, and it was thought Arsenal were chasing him initially. His cool head and composure on the ball, has been key to Spurs’ play, though under Mauricio Pochettino there is competition for places.
Defensive midfield: Etienne Capoue
The Frenchman has returned to favour under new boss Pochettino this term, and the 26-year-old may be handed the chance to prove just how good he is up against the likes of Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil. Tough in the tackle, with a relentless style of play, Capoue has an opportunity to really make his mark this term.
Centre midfield: Aaron Ramsey
Probably, on his day, one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world, and when he plays well, Arsenal generally win. He had a breakthrough season last term, despite sustaining an injury, and will be looking for more of the same, as the Welshman chases more silverware with the Gunners.
Right wing: Alexis Sanchez
Chile attacker Sanchez has shown signs he is finally adjusting to the English game after scoring twice in four Premier League appearances. Wenger will be hoping he can be the difference in the local derby.
Attacking midfield: Christian Eriksen
This live-wire is a prodigious talent. At just 22 years old, he has the world at his feet, and Spurs could struggle to keep hold of him if they fail to finish in a European place. A free-kick specialist, and an eye for a pass, the Dane can unlock even the toughest of defences.
Left wing: Nacer Chadli
Another player who has enjoyed a transformation under Pochettino, the Belgian has discovered his scoring touch. With three goals in four Premier League appearances, Chadli looks a credible goal threat every time he gets on the ball, and Spurs may have a gem in their ranks.
Striker: Emmanuel Adebayor
We couldn’t pick a north London XI without current Spurs and ex-Arsenal frontman Adebayor. The Togo striker is never far from controversy, though has mellowed somewhat recently. With a goal and an assist so far this season, he is always a handful for defenders.