One of the fiercest rivals in English football is renewed on Sunday, as Arsenal entertain Tottenham in the north London derby.
When the two sides met in the reverse fixture back in early December it was Jose Mourinho’s side who triumphed, as goals from Son Heung-min and Harry Kane secured a relatively comfortable 2-0 win over Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
But after winning well in Piraeus in the first leg of their Europa League tie with Olympiacos, spirits in Arsenal’s camp will be high – particularly as they scored three priceless away goals. That said, Spurs also won in Europe, defeating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 courtesy of yet another Kane brace.
Ahead of the game, 90min will attempt to channel their inner Arteta – by picking the team that should start at the Emirates Stadium.
Bernd Leno (GK) – Has been criticised for his distribution of late, but truth be told his shot stopping ability has kept Arsenal in a number of games. Likely coming up against Kane, Son and Gareth Bale, the German can anticipate being a busy boy.
Cedric Soares (RB) – Had a run of games at left back when Kieran Tierney was injured, proving himself to be a reliable deputy. The Portuguese is a right back by trade though, and with Hector Bellerin playing the full 90 minutes in Greece midweek, he’s the fresh, logical option.
David Luiz (CB) – When fit, the Brazilian is usually named in the starting lineup because of his experience and leadership skills. Arguably the most technically gifted of Arsenal’s centre-backs, it makes sense to play the 33-year-old given their current philosophy.
Pablo Mari (CB) – Gabriel returned to the starting lineup for the trip to Greece but Mari has impressed of late. Rotation is key to staying fresh, and the Brazilian doesn’t weaken Arsenal’s backline.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – A key player for the Gunners, Tierney is solid defensively but also offers plenty in the attacking third. Arsenal don’t have another recognised left-back in the first-team squad, and even if they did the Scot would still get the nod.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – Despite his error at Burnley last weekend, anybody who has followed the club in recent months will recognise how Xhaka is to the way the Gunners wish to play.
Thomas Partey (CM) – Looked out of sorts on Thursday night, but big money players are needed to perform in big games.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – Returned from injury at Olympiacos, coming on as a late substitute. Assuming there are no further concerns regarding his fitness, he should come in and give Martin Odegaard a breather.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – You could make a case for resting Saka, but this is the north London derby – adrenaline alone will get Arsenal’s most consistent player fit for kick off.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) – The Arsenal captain has rediscovered his goalscoring form of late and has scored seven goals against Tottenham in his career to date.
Nicolas Pepe (LW) – The Ivorian was unfortunate to be benched against Olympiacos, as he’s been greatly improved after switching to the left. Also had a substitute’s brief against Burnley, so he’ll be chomping at the bit to prove his worth in the derby.