Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur in the first North London derby of the season on Sunday, with the chance to go five points clear of their local rivals.
Tottenham have made a relatively poor start to the season overall. They scraped past newly-promoted Aston Villa with a late comeback, before being completely dominated and somehow coming away with a point against Manchester City. Their luck caught up with them against Newcastle as they lost 1-0 at home.
Meanwhile, Arsenal began the season with a couple of wins, before falling short against Liverpool. Though a defeat away at Anfield can be excused, the fans are going to be a lot less forgiving if Unai Emery’s side don’t get the win at home to Spurs.
As a result, it’s no surprise Arsenal are the favourites on the betting apps, with odds to win at 11/8 at the time of writing. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also favourite to score at 11/10, even over Harry Kane at 6/5.
The match is at 16:30 BST on Sunday, September 1st at the Emirates Stadium, and it will be televised in the UK on Sky Sports. You can see the full television listings by country at LiveSoccerTV.
Let’s have a look at our predicted XI for the match.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Bernd Leno still hasn’t done anything to lose his place, whilst Emi Martinez will continue to play backup for now. With the League Cup and Europa League group stage kicking off later in September, it won’t be long until Martinez gets competitive opportunities.
The good news during the week was that Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all expected back in full training in September. None of them will be ready yet though, and Rob Holding also isn’t quite sharp enough.
Nacho Monreal appears to be on the way out to Real Sociedad, but for now, he’s still available and likely to start. The rumours suggest Arsenal are specifically delaying the deal so he can play this match.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles will start on the other side, with two of Calum Chambers, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz in the middle. So far, Unai Emery has opted for Sokratis and Luiz on both occasions since they were both match ready, so they’re the most likely duo.
Lucas Torreira has impressed in cameo appearances, whilst those given the full 90 minutes have had more mixed showings recently. Granit Xhaka will likely partner him in midfield, as the two have the most experience together for this kind of match.
Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock will both be disappointed to miss out, but someone has to for Torreira to come in and Arsenal to change formation.
The final midfield position is between Dani Ceballos and Mesut Özil. After Ceballos’ performance against Burnley, he would’ve been nailed on for this one, but after a much less impressive display against Liverpool, it’s a coin toss.
Perhaps giving Özil his first competitive minutes of the season with a start against Spurs isn’t the best idea, so we’ll assume Ceballos gets the nod.
This is going to be the day for Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to start together. The trio have the potential to form a good partnership, and it would really get the fans up for the game.
Reiss Nelson and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will remain on the bench for now.
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal; Xhaka, Torreira; Pepe, Ceballos, Aubameyang; Lacazette.