Tottenham – Arsenal combined XI: £65m Gunners star gets nod up front, Son over Martinelli

Jason Soutar
Arsenal - Tottenham combined XI only features two Spurs players
Arsenal - Tottenham combined XI only features two Spurs players

The north London derby is a big one. Maybe the biggest of ones in the Premier League. And with big games, we feel inclined to do a combined XI. Arsenal fans will like ours, Tottenham fans definitely will not.


GK: David Raya (Arsenal)
Probably the hardest position to settle on a player was in goal. Guglielmo Vicario has been a successful signing and while Raya has had some shaky moments, he has not had as many as Vicario, who is more easily unsettled when under pressure from set-pieces or physical opposition players.

Raya has been a commanding figure in the Arsenal goal which breeds confidence throughout the team. The Aaron Ramsdale debate was put to bed a long time ago, which has shown the Emirates faithful that Mikel Arteta’s decision making should not be questioned.


RB: Benjamin White (Arsenal)
Has there been a better right-back in the Premier League this season? Absolutely not. Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland need to grovel and get this guy in the England team for the Euros. We are not sure who should be dropped for him, but it has to happen.

While he walks in to this combined XI, that does not mean Pedro Porro has not been outstanding for Tottenham this season. He absolutely deserves recognition for that.


CB: William Saliba (Arsenal)
Saliba has been outstanding for Arsenal since making his first-team debut on matchday one in 2022/23. He was named man of the match on that night at Crystal Palace and has been the best player on the park on quite a few big games since.

He is bloody brilliant and his absence last term contributed towards an almighty bottlejob in the Premier League title race. Arsenal are made of sterner stuff this time around and Saliba’s availability is a huge reason why.


CB: Gabriel (Arsenal)
We are big fans of Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven at Football365 HQ but we simply think Saliba and Gabriel are better. Arsenal’s defensive record this season speaks volumes.

Out of every centre-back at both clubs, Gabriel is the best, which many Arsenal fans might disagree with. Saliba is brilliant and has a higher ceiling, but his Brazilian partner is the superior player at this moment in time.


LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal)
We would have put Destiny Udogie in had he not been injured given Arsenal’s uncertainty over this position. The Italian youngster has been very impressive in his first year in the Premier League.

Jurrien Timber might be the long-term option for the Gunners in left-back but out of all the fully fit players Mikel Arteta has at his disposal, Tomiyasu is the best. Oleksandr Zinchenko has proven himself to be extremely unreliable defensively, while Jakub Kiwior is not quite on the same level as the Ukrainian and Japanese.


CM: Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
Arsenal captain Odegaard has been in mesmerising form since the turn of the year after a decent start to the 2023/24 campaign.

He is nailed on to get in to any combined XI at the minute. What a magician.


CM: Declan Rice (Arsenal)
There is a very strongly for Rice being named Premier League Player of the Year. If Arsenal win the league, it should be him, but if it’s Manchester City, we will probably see the award go to Phil Foden.

Seriously, what a player Rice is. He has taken Arsenal to another level, especially out of possession. He is a man mountain in the middle of the pitch and has managed to prove himself to be a £100million bargain, which takes some doing.

READ MORE: Predicting five Arsenal bottlejobs from 2022/23 (and Declan Rice) primed to bottle it again in 2023/24


CM: James Maddison (Tottenham)
Maddison was strongly linked with Arsenal before they opted to sign Odegaard from Real Madrid after the Norweigan spent six months on loan at the Emirates.

Spurs fans won’t like that he is the first of their lot in this combined XI, but it is deserved. Ange Postecoglou’s men have been great to watch and Maddison in particularly was in ridiculous form before getting injured early on in the season, so the fact they have been battered by Arsenal in our team – even after drawing the reverse fixture – it takes nothing away from those who have missed out.

Pape Matar Sarr, Van de Ven, Romero, Vicario and Porro all deserve a mention. They have been crucial in the club’s fight for Champions League qualification.


RW: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s star boy easily gets in to our combined XI. He sees off competition from Brennan Johnson and Dejan Kulusevski.


LW: Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
Our second and final Spurs player is their captain, Son. The 31-year-old has an impressive 15 goals and nine assists in the Premier League this season after a poor year for him in which he found the back of the net 10 times, which does not sound that bad, but he was far from his best.


ST: Kai Havertz (Arsenal)
As we touched on in the Raya section, Arsenal boss Arteta should not be questioned. He has made some big and controversial calls at the club and arguably the most debated has been the signing of Havertz.

The German took a while to get comfortable in the Gunners team but has found his place as a No. 9, which is ironic because 99 per cent of football fans insisted he was not suited to that role during his time at Chelsea.

£65m is a lot of money to spend on a player who failed to shine at their previous club but he has shut his critics up and then some. There are still question marks, in my opinion, over his ability to play in a midfield three, and over the striker position at the Emirates, but there is no doubt that Havertz – who has 11 Premier League goals this season – has been a good signing.

Richarlison has also been much improved this term and was very close to getting in here, for what it’s worth. We also weighed up having Son through the middle and one of Gabriel Martinelli or Leandro Trossard on the left.

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