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Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Predicted Lineup, Bench & Score

The biggest match of the season.

Arsenal v Leeds United - Premier League Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

How much must the producers of Amazon’s All or Nothing be loving this scenario? A horrible start, many ups and downs, perhaps slipping away after two crucial injuries, academy man Eddie Nketiah coming into form, and now Arsenal on the doorstep of returning to the UEFA Champions League with a road win against their rivals. Lovely TV I’m sure, but that’s in a few months time. For now, Arsenal has presented themselves with control (once again) and a pivotal moment in Mikel Arteta’s tenure as manager.

Tottenham enters the match likely feeling just as much momentum considering it’s at their home ground. They’ve won five of the last eight matches, with two draws, including most recently against Liverpool at Anfield, with their only loss coming to Brighton. That form, along with Arsenal’s recent wins, eliminated Manchester United from top-four contention and adds even more hype around the North London Derby.

The Gunners have won the two most recent clashes between these two sides, 3-1 and 2-1, both at the Emirates. Prior to that, however, they had gone five matches without a victory. It’s been a long time since Arsenal left Spur’s home with a victory - September 2015 in the League Cup. You have to go back to March 2014 to find the last league road win for Arsenal in the series. It’s a tall ask to reverse that trend, but Mikel Arteta and the team know full well what it would mean to not only win a North London Derby, to win one on the road, but also secure a Champions League position at the expense of their main rivals. Bring on Thursday.

Predicted XI

Bench

  1. Alexandre Lacazette
  2. Emile Smith Rowe
  3. Pepe
  4. Rob Holding
  5. Cedric
  6. Albert Sambi Lokonga
  7. Bernd Leno
  8. Zak Swanson
  9. Charlie Patino
  • Left Out: Kieran Tierney (injury) & Thomas Partey (injury)
  • Ben White was nearly back for the Leeds United match, but held out of the 18. That was probably in prepartion for Thursday rather than any significant setbacks. His return alongside Gabriel in Arsenal’s biggest match of the season, and on the road, will be a tremendous boost facing Spurs’ attack. Rob Holding has been great deputizing, just as Mohamed Elneny, but White is still RCB #1.
  • In the last match, Arteta opted for Tomiyasu and Cedric as his fullbacks, rather than Tavares. It’s completely fair to say that Nuno Tavares has not had the ideal debut season at Arsenal. He has plenty of potential to possibly develop into, but it’s hard to match up to what Kieran Tierney has brought during his tenure at the club. Will Mikel take a bit of a gamble with Tavares on the left to provide additional speed and attacking push or being on the road will he look to be more conservative with Cedric? How much do you want Tomiyasu in his best position, particularly lining up against Son?
  • Honestly, it’s a coin toss for Martinelli and Smith Rowe. One starts the other is the first substitute in the second half. Both can score, both can provide assists, and both help cover in defense. Arsenal are lucky to have two really good options in this spot and hopefully are able to fully utilize both next season splitting time across the Premier League and the Champions League.

How to watch

Thursday (5/12) at 2:45 pm ET / 11:45 am PT on the USA Network.

Prediction

Arsenal - 2

Tottenham - 1

After a lot of ups and downs this season, it is fitting that Arsenal have a chance to achieve their primary goal this year at Tottenham. While a loss still leaves the Gunners ahead by a point, they will not enter the match with that mentality. I expect Arteta to have them set up to play fairly safely in the opening half-hour, chasing moments at they present themselves, and attacking more as the match progresses.