Football

Published on February 26th, 2013 | by Miles Crallan

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Arsenal and Tottenham combined XI

North London’s two most successful sides have come a long way since their first meeting in 1887, when Royal Arsenal faced a Tottenham side in a fixture that was abandoned due to darkness, at their original birthplace of Plumstead, Kent.

The rivalry between the two properly ignited in 1913, when Arsenal jumped ship and moved to Highbury, north London.

Although Tottenham have struggled to match the success of their closest rivals, winning just one league title compared to the Gunners’ 13, Spurs’ impressive squad has been on par with Arsene Wenger’s side over the last two campaigns.

As the battle for third place looks set to continue on Sunday, when the two teams meet at White Hart Lane, here is the strongest combined eleven from the squads, using research from 13 Arts London News reporters.

Formation – 4-3-3

Hugo Lloris (11/13 votes)

Tottenham Hotspur keeper Hugo Lloris has enjoyed a successful first season at White Hart Lane. Having dislodged former first choice Brad Friedel in between the sticks, Lloris has proved to be a commanding figure in the box, and along with his fine reflex saving ability has shown why he is the France number one.

Kyle Walker (9/13)

At just 22, and with over 150 professional first team appearances to his name, England right-back Walker is maturing into the talent he beckoned as a teenager at Sheffield United.

Along with his sheer strength and lightening mobility, the Tottenham defender has an eye for an assist, clocking up five already in the 2012/13 campaign.

Michael Dawson (4/13)

An experienced centre-back, who has clocked up over 250 appearances for Tottenham, Dawson is a steady, natural passer of the ball who thrives in fierce, but fair, tackling.

Thomas Vermaelen  (9/13)

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is an ever-present figure in Wenger’s back four. Naturally a centre half, the Belgium international can cover at left-back where his tough, commanding figure is equally as effective.

Jan Vertonghen (8/13)

The tall, calm controller of the Tottenham defence has settled into life at the club with ease. At 6 ft 2 in, the Belgium international has already netted three times for Spurs since sealing his move from Ajax. A smooth passer of the ball, who remains unfazed by danger, he is a solid addition to Andre Villas Boas’ back four.

Santi Cazorla (11/13)

Santi Cazorla has proved an excellent summer acquisition for Arsenal [Flickr: wonker]

The magical creative spark in the Arsenal midfield has settled into life in north London with ease. Santi Cazorla’s ability to maze through players, range of passing with both feet and eye for goal has seen him clock up 11 goals in his first season at the club.

Sandro (6/13)

Brazil international Sandro is the defensive anchor-man in the Tottenham line-up. His bulky build, and his native samba-style roots make him a tough tackling defensive midfielder who has the technical flare of a typical Brazilian.

Jack Wilshere (13/13)

Regarded as the future of the England national side, and rightly so. Jack Wilshere’s combative playing style, combined with the coolness he oozes when surging through the opposition’s half, Wilshere has the ingredients to progress into one of the all time greats of the game.

Theo Walcott (12/13)

The frightfully fast paced Theo Walcott has justified his £12 million transfer fee from Southampton with his 19 goals this season. It seems, now aged 23, that Walcott has matured into a fine attacking player that is equally effective as a centre forward. His pace, and ever improving finishing has seen him draw comparisons to Thierry Henry.

Gareth Bale (13/13)

Gareth Bale has cemented himself as one of the world’s best players this season [Flickr: Mafue]

Gareth Bale has developed into one of football’s biggest talents after a string of fine performances in the last two seasons. The Welshman has drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo of late, with his free kick technique and ability to beat players with ease, putting him on a similar level to that of the Portuguese sensation.

Jermaine Defoe (6/13)

Jermaine Defoe has calved a career as a natural goalscorer through his low centre of gravity, quick feet and precise finishing technique. The 30-year-old has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, which has seen him capped 52 times by England.

Lloris
 

Walker – Dawson – Vermaelen – Vertonghen
 

Cazorla – Sandro – Wilshere
 

Walcott – Defoe – Bale

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