The North London derby is a fixture that carries a lot of historical, political and footballing heritage. It has entertained one of the greatest rivalries in world sports for over a century and we will get to witness it once again this Sunday.
However, after decades worth of sheer dominance over Tottenham, Arsenal seem to have been lacking in recent times due to which their derby performances have been nothing close to how it used to be. It has gotten to a point where ‘North London is white’ has become an actual opinion these days.
Just about a year ago, Daily Mail’s Adam Crafton published an Arsenal-Spurs combined XI that included only Tottenham stars — an insult no Gooner took well and hunted the journalist down after the derby win.
We were asked to give our Arsenal/Tottenham composite XI. So I gave the Tottenham team. https://t.co/psVtWo4T07
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) November 17, 2017
This time around, more combined XI shouts have surfaced as well — from Paul Merson and Tim Sherwood’s ridiculous selection of players to Twitter experts putting out blatantly biased line-ups.
Tim Sherwood and Paul Merson have picked their combined North London Derby XI…
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 29, 2018
Which is why we decided to pick out 11 of the best players based on this season’s performances so far. Let’s take a look:
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Though Bernd Leno has been a bargain for the Gunners this season, Hugo Lloris, only slightly, edges over him with less goals conceded and having made more saves.
However, this could be attributed to the shaky defense Leno has had in front of him.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
Since his dip in form last season, Hector Bellerin has truly stepped back up to his true potential fans witness back during his first two seasons.
The Spaniard absolutely aces his competitor Serge Aurier in every department and edges over Kieran Trippier, who hasn’t quite lived up to his World Cup form. Bellerin has been a constant attacking threat for Unai Emery‘s side, all the while maintaining an impressive defensive record.
The youngster has lost a mere 2 tackles all season, has made no crucial mistakes and has already racked up 4 league assists.
Center-back: Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen
This section is probably the easiest to pick as the Emirates outfit don’t really have a world-class centre-back yet.
Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen easily take this line-up, though those who have watched Sokratis Papastathopoulos will know that he is a close third contender for one of these spots.
Left-back: Ben Davies
Though Nacho Monreal is arguably a close contender for the left-back spot, the fact that he has been out injured for quite some time makes it harder for him to be included.
Meanwhile, Ben Davies has been a solid cover on the left flank for the London Whites and featured in the victories over Inter Milan and Chelsea.
Central midfielders: Lucas Torreira
Lucas Torreira came from a humble club and has absolutely taken the Premier League by storm. The little Uruguayan has undoubtedly been the best performing defensive midfielder this season and is arguably the signing of the season.
To a consistent viewer of the English league, Torreira’s inclusion shouldn’t really bring surprise. Which can’t be said about Sherwood and Merson, who have included Eric Dier and Harry Winks ahead of the Arsenal man in their line-ups.
Attacking midfielders: Christian Eriksen, Mesut Ozil and Son Heung-min
They’re Christian Eriksen, Mesut Ozil and Son Heung-min, that’s why. They’re just that good.
Strikers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane
It shouldn’t be surprising that 2 of the league’s current top 3 scorers made it to this list.
Harry Kane has been the best striker in the league for the past 3 years and has been consistently finding the back of the net, especially on derby days.
And Aubameyang has taken over England like he’s been playing there for years. 25 goal contributions in just 30 appearances is no joke.