Davinson Sanchez at right back is an odd choice in a big game such as this. He has never played there, as far as I am aware, and has never struck me as someone who good do a job in such a position. Let’s all hope he proves me wrong, so that I can eat some humble pie at the end. Serge Aurier cannot be feeling good about himself.
You have to say, that hair is magnificent …
Mourinho says he spent some time watching Lille after leaving United to give him something to do. It’s not exactly driving to Dundee in your bare feet. Mourinho points out that Pepe is good at football.
Pochettino says Eriksen is in the right frame of mind to play and that it is almost impossible that the Dane will leave the club tomorrow.
Emery is asked a very simple question and gives a very complicated answer, which ends with him saying he feels the team can play well.
Some stats so I don’t have to bother …
A delightful dinner date …
Everton have just won 3-2 against Wolves in a cracking match. The result sees the Toffees move above Arsenal but three points for the Gunners will get them up to third, which would be a cracking place to be going into the international break.
Ozil is on the bench for Arsenal and Emery is really keen to keep and utilise the German playmaker, who has endured a tricky summer.
After careful analysis of the Spurs lineup, it looks like it could be a 3-4-3, with Rose and Sissoko on the flanks, a front three of Lamela, Kane and Son. It should make it ruddy exciting.
Spurs are a little bit different, according to their manager …
Did somebody order a banter?
Torreira, Xhaka and Guendouzi is a pretty solid base for a midfield, so it should permit plenty of freedom to Pepe et al in the final third to really do what they want. I am yet to see much of Pepe in an Arsenal shirt, so I am fascinated to see how he copes with a derby. I feel he might thrive on it.
Anyway … here’s the incomparable Nick Ames on Unai Emery finding his rhythm.
So … we have the lineups. Arsenal do go with the exciting front three and Ozil makes the bench. For Spurs it is a return to the back three, with Vertonghen coming in. I am not particularly sure how the midfield will look, seeing as they have plenty of attacking players included; Lamela, Eriksen, Sissoko and Son all start, so it should be fun to see how that fits together.
Starting lineups: Arsenal v Spurs
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Subs: Martinez, Mkhitaryan, Ceballos, Ozil, Chambers, Nelson, Willock.
Spurs: Lloris, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Winks, Eriksen, Sissoko, Lamela, Son, Kane.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Lo Celso, Alli, Aurier, Moura, Skipp, Davies.
Here we are; the game which will supposedly define seasons or some other nonsense like that. Arsenal need to prove they can be consistently competent in the Premier League, while Spurs will to show they are better than a team that gets beat by Newcastle at home.
Will Arsenal show their teeth with an attacking front three of Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe? It would be a wonderful show of intent against a Spurs defence which is still trying to settle this season. They could even come up against Vertonghen who has been out of favour so far but could return due to the underwhelming efforts of the other centre-backs.
For Spurs, it is all about whether Eriksen is brought into the starting lineup as they really require someone who can create chances and he is certainly a man who can do that. However, due to the impending closure of the European transfer window, the Dane’s desire to leave and few players of his quality being available, it could be a case that he is left out once again.
It should be pretty enjoyable either way, as it’s a lovely day for football in north London.