Arsenal face Spurs this weekend in the North London derby, and since combined XI’s are all the rage right now, we’ve put one of our own together.
Unlike a certain Daily Mail journalist who couldn’t find room for a single Arsenal player in his combined XI, we’re a bit more objective here at the Daily Cannon. Sometimes.
Clearly neither team is perfect, and they both have areas where they could be stronger.
With that in mind, here’s our XI:
1. Hugo Lloris
Unfortunately, based on their form this season, we can’t find room for Petr Čech or David Ospina here, although Dave’s issue is more career-specific than season. Both goalkeepers have made a number of mistakes, and whilst Lloris isn’t perfect, there’s a reason Arsenal have conceded just two goals fewer than bottom of the table West Brom. Lloris is head and shoulders above the Arsenal pair. In fact, he’d probably still outperform both of them if they were allowed to play in goal at the same time.
2. Hector Bellerin
Despite his critics, Bellerin has been very good this season. Certainly better than Serge Aurier or Kieran Trippier, neither of whom are even guaranteed a place in their own team, let alone Arsenal’s. He makes mistakes from time to time, but he’s more defensively solid than people give him credit for.
3. Laurent Koscielny
When he’s fit, Koscielny is still one of the best centre-backs in the league. He’s having more and more trouble maintaining that fitness, but he’s available right now, and is as solid as ever. He even scored in both of Arsenal’s last two home games. That’s by no means a requirement for a defender, but it’s a nice bonus.
4. Toby Alderweireld
Alderweireld has struggled with injury even more than Koscielny this season. There’s no denying he’s a top defender when he’s on form though. Rumour has it he wants to leave Spurs, so perhaps he could be the next Sol Campbell?
5. Nacho Monreal
Monreal has been one of Arsenal’s heroes this season. He was heading for his second Arsenal player-of-the-month award of the campaign before being pipped by Elneny, despite missing half of January with injury. With two goals and two assists in his last three games, we couldn’t leave him out.
6. Mousa Dembele
Dembele is the kind of midfielder Arsenal fans always complain about not having. Strong on the ball and an accurate passer, but also someone who contributes defensively. For that reason, he gets into the combined team.
7. Aaron Ramsey
Ramsey is back to his best this season. With six goals and eight assists in just 18 league matches, he’s looking as dangerous as ever. Last weekend, he scored his first Arsenal hat-trick, and the Gunners look much better with him in the side.
8. Christian Eriksen
Eriksen is also, unsurprisingly, having a good season, with eight goals and eight assists in 31 appearances. At his best, he challenges some of the best playmakers in the league.
9. Mesut Özil
Özil is world class, and he’s showing it every time he plays at the moment. His assists against Crystal Palace and Swansea were ridiculous, and he kept the team ticking over against Everton.
10. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
One goal in one game for Arsenal isn’t a bad record. The 21 goals Aubameyang had in 24 games for Dortmund weren’t bad either. Despite all the uncertainty around his future, he was still scoring for fun, and definitely deserves a place in this XI.
11. Harry Kane
Tottenham’s own prolific goalscorer is on form this season as well. Kane has 31 goals in 32 games in all competitions, so him and Aubameyang could develop a bit of a rivalry. After last weekend, the striker is guaranteed at least a couple of penalties against Arsenal to help him out.