The north London Derby is always among the marquee matches of the season. Two teams with a long rivalry through history that have put it many memorable tilts. Largely, history looks favourably on the Arsenal side of things but last season was the first time Tottenham managed to finish above Arsenal and now look to continue that performance with another strong showing. Saturday’s match should be closly contested.
With that in mind, and because this is something blogs do, we at The Short Fuse have put together a Combined XI for the two sides. Let’s take a look:
O... kay... that’s a bit odd. I could have sworn we separated the two teams out but it seems like they’ve just sort of taken up their normal First XI’s. Sure, it’d be tempting to fill a side with either based on fandom but, for example, as good as Lacazette has been to start the season, it’s hard to argue that Harry Kane wouldn’t just walk into Arsenal’s side having scored in... uh, sorry?
Daniel Levy: “Never happen. You hear me? Never going to happen. I will be dead, cold and poorly preserved in the ground before another Spurs player is ever going to play for Arsenal! I even made Townsend sign a clause that doesn’t allow him to be sold to Arsenal ever! Learned my lesson from Sol Campbell. Harry Kane won’t EVER play for Arsenal.”
Um, sure, but that’s not really the poin— oh, uh Mr Wenger?
Arsene Wenger: “That’s fine. I mean, uh, Kane is a special player and one we shall need to mark closely on the weekend but, uh, I think the Arsenal requires players with a certain pedigree, mainly, I think, one that includes having actually won trophies.”
DL: “Why you rotten little--”
AW: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of Santi Cazorla polishing our FA Cups.”
Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Please; a combined XI is just a fun exercise in marking which players are doing well and who you tend to have a bit of a bias over. Let’s calm down and try this again:
OK, so they just starting moving about a bit positionally. Spurs really seem to be pressing forward but that seems to have left Lloris exposed. What? He’s made 17 saves? Wow.
Arsenal however... yikes, what are you doing? Alexis appears to have switched sides, Ramsey is standing on Ozil’s toes and Xhaka is horribly exposed. I don’t even know what Mustafi is doing. Still, this is not a combined XI what we—
Mauricio Pochettino: “Basically, we see that Arsenal lack the utter composure and tactics to form a team capable of contending with my brilliant press system. I don’t even have to play Son here. It is a simple overwhelm strategy and we’ll clearly use it to our advantage to win heavily on Saturday.”
AW: “I think tactics are important but winning is paramount. Three points definitely put us on the right track to surviving until January when I can combine a better XI since some players are... I’ve said to much. But as good as Spurs have been they have not won.”
MP: “Only a matter of time as it is clear Tottenham is in the ascendcy and Arsenal are on a downward spira—”
DL: “DON’T SAY THOSE WORDS YOU BLOO—”
OK, I’m just turning off the mics that I don’t know how you all got a hold of and getting back to the main topic. North London Combined XI. One pitch, one team. Just get everyone together and sort it out.
I give up. The teams appear to be pushing and shoving, yelling multiple obscenities. Deli Alli has been shown a red card and Granit Xhaka has seven yellows and a red already, mostly for being clumsy. Only the goalkeepers seem to be ignoring it... oh, Mesut Ozil and Christian Erikssen appear to be discussing what life is like at Real Madrid rather calmly. Well, cheers to them.
Looks like there’s no consensus here beyond these teams don’t like each other and Jack Wilshere shouldn’t be anywhere near the pitch. See you on Saturday!