Arsenal face a tough visit to Spurs on Sunday, here’s how Mikel Arteta should lineup.
In what could prove to be a pivotal clash come the end of the season, Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Mikel Arteta’s men will travel to Spurs in the hopes of grabbing all three points, with the potential to extend their lead at the top of the table.
With players impressing in the cup and returning from injuries, here’s how I think Mikel Arteta will lineup…
Arsenal’s predicted lineup – Goalkeeper & Defence
It goes without saying but Aaron Ramsdale will start between the sticks. He’s in good form and having been rested for the FA Cup fixture against Oxford, he will start in the North London derby.
It’s been a relatively unchanged back four throughout most of this season for Mikel Arteta. The only position he seems to tamper with is the left-back position, where I think Oleksandr Zinchenko will get the nod. The Ukrainian full-back was rested on Monday’s fixture against Oxford United and he is much more attack minded than his competition Tierney.
On the other flank, Ben White will vacate the right-back role. It’s not his favoured position but he has turned out to be one of the best right-backs in the league this season. His excellent footwork and reading of the game will be important to halting the Spurs front-line.
The centre-back pairing of choice Mikel Arteta will go with is William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes. The latter took part in a tough game away at Oxford United on Monday but his physicality won him the clean sheet. Saliba, on the other hand, was rested so he will be the freshest of the pairing.
Usually, the midfield three is solid and it goes without predicting. However, with Vieira and Eleny combining for a great opening goal in the cup, this could complicate matters. I still think Arteta will stick with his plan though.
In the North London derby, Arsenal will field a midfield pairing of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Partey will play a little deeper than his Swiss partner, holding the line and controlling the passage of play like he has all season. Xhaka may have to help him a little more than he would like but the Swiss midfielder will still bomb forward to help in attack whenever he gets the chance.
Playing further up the pitch than these two will be Martin Odegaard. The Arsenal captain has been their best player so far this season and the first name on the team-sheet. He will be given the freedom to express his creativity in the final third and if he is playing well, then it will shine through in the team as a collective.
Fabio Vieira proved to be a very good option for Mikel Arteta and he’s nearing a challenge for a starting eleven spot. He will be a great option for the Gunners from the bench should they need an extra dimension to their play.
Looking at the team sheet against Oxford United, this surprised many fans. While players were rested, Arteta fielded his strongest possible attack. It’s a good job the front three are all young players who are eager to play every minute.
Gabriel Martinelli will start as a left-winger. His pace in attack and ability to dribble with the ball at his feet will serve Arteta well. There were moments in the Oxford match where he ran in behind the defence and caught them by suprise – this will be a little more difficult to achieve away at Spurs but he will routinely make those runs, for Odegaard to pick him out.
Starting as the striker will be Eddie Nketiah. To say that Arteta has no other choice would be doing Nketiah a disservice. The young English forward has played exceptionally well in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, scoring an average of a goal per game since he was ruled out injured. Scoring a brace in the FA Cup fixture, he’s growing in confidence and there’s no better time to showcase that confidence against than Spurs.
On the right side of attack is Bukayo Saka. He is always, always, always the first name on the team sheet for Arteta. The Spanish coach has made it very clear that to be one of the best players in the world, you have to play every single match. The star boy’s energy and technical ability will prove to be a menace against the Spurs defence, and I predict him to have the game of his life.