Arsenal travel to Tottenham on Sunday in what will be an epic North London Derby. The Gunners need all three points to stay in the hunt for Champions League football next season, whilst Spurs still have an outside chance of the title if they pick up maximum points.
Poor form has prompted a rare tactical change from Arsene Wenger as he looks to show he can compete with the best managers in the world. The way his team performed in the FA Cup semi-final was reassuring, but perhaps the biggest test of this new 3 man defence formation will come on Sunday when Arsenal will attempt to quieten their noisy neighbours.
Wenger opted to change the team around a bit at home in midweek against Leicester, after 120 gruelling minutes against Manchester City last weekend, he will have had one eye on this North London Derby, a match he knows that for his future, he cannot afford to lose.
Wenger will go back to a full strength team here, but what is his best eleven in this new formation? Here’s the team I would go with…
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
Big Pete man an important save in the semi-final and kept a clean sheet against Leicester. He seems to be regaining some form between the sticks, like the rest of the team, so should keep his place.
Defence: Gabriel Paulista, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding
Arsenal changed things around in midweek, giving Monreal a chance to impress in central defence. I think for this game Holding must come back in, and Arsenal should go with the same central defenders that played so well against Manchester City in the FA Cup. It’ll be another big test in this game for a young Holding, but he showed he plays with composure beyond his years with his brilliant accomplished performance at Wembley last week – there’s no reason he cannot have another great game at White Hart Lane.
Midfield: Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Granit Xhaka, Nacho Monreal
I think Arsenal would benefit from playing two more natural defenders in the wing back positions for this fixture, but Ox is in such good form he has to start. With Ramsey struggling to impress, I’d like to see Ox centrally alongside Xhaka in the centre.
Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil
I’d like to see the shift to a 3-4-1-2 to allow Ozil the free role in the middle. I think having him in wide areas may not help in a game that will be played at such a high pace. In this number 10 role he can create from deep and have two fast strikers ahead of him to provide the width and make the difference.
Strikers: Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez
I would go with two strikers, I think Arsenal have looked better when they’ve taken Giroud out the lineup and gone with Alexis alongside Welbeck up front. The duo have pace in abundance and a ridiculous amount of stamina between them, which means they can play a pressing game from the front