Just a few weeks ago the Spuddies were poking fun at us: TOTL with three wins whilst Arsenal were rock bottom. An ever-lasting international break and two PL games later, and with a NLD ‘six-pointer’ to be contested this Sunday, we are already offered a great opportunity to catch up with them. It all reminded me of a diptych painting in the waiting room of my childhood’s GP back in the deep south of the Netherlands, very close to the German border. The sub-text reads ‘Wie du mir, So ich dir’ – something like ‘As you do to me, I will do to you’.
It is never clever to poke fun at the Arsenal when your trophy cupboards are dust’s best friends; and now we are right below them and ready to put our teeth into them… and just one game away from catching up already.
Yet we have no right to be full of hubris as our one nils to the Arsenal were hard fought for victories and the Spuddies are a much more established team than Arteta’s newly picked ensemble right now. A loss to either team would be doubly painful and we must of course be wary of the likes of Kane and Son doing damage on the break. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs will probably like to absorb pressure and play on the rebound and counter; Arteta’s Arsenal, playing at the home of Football, will mostly likely push up and take the game to the North-London rivals. As always, getting the balance right, especially in midfield, will be key. The really good news is that ALL, yes all, players are fit to play! Yeehah!
It is hard to exactly predict the line-up but I would like to think that Laca, who had a good game v Wimbledon, should start this time. Alex has been involved in six goals in eight games v the Spuds and he scored in the last three NLDs. Does that mean that Auba should start on the bench? Well maybe, but this may well be the right game to play both of them once again. It partly depends on whether we play three at the back and include Big Rob into the lineup. I don’t think we will.
The other big question is whether Granit walks back into the team. I know not everybody would like that to happen but I expect and want it to. Our left works much better with Granit in the team and he will be careful enough to not get send off again.
I think the defence picks itself and I would like to include Partey, Saka and ESR and Ode for this one. Pepe and Eddie can come on later and do some more Spuds-mashing.
For me there are three key couples: ESR and Ode, Laca and Auba and Xhaka and Partey.
So this is my preferred – and possibly also expected – lineup for the 204th NLD:
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!!