North London Derby: Team News, Predicted Starting XI And Thoughts.

High fives all round again today, please.

Morning, folks.

Days like today fill me with nerves. As I type, there is an audible maelstrom within my midriff and it’s worsening as the minutes tick toward kick-off. My bladder feels like suffering a choke hold at the gigantic hands of a WWE superstar and I’m starting to consider taking up permanent residence on the toilet.

Losing the NLD doesn’t bare thinking about. Losing to that bunch of irksome second-stringers would be tantamount to waking up one morning to find my penis has been replaced with a empty tube of Smarties. In short, folks, I can only envisage an Arsenal victory today because the opposite takes me to a place of sorrow and darkness.

Form will count for little or nothing. Both teams have wracked up the points and put in some impressive displays. None of that will matter come 12:45 as the passion, the vociferous nature of the occasion will take over. The team able to perform and hold its nerve are the ones most likely to emerge the victors.

So, how will Arsenal line up? What’s the team news?

We know Alexis Sanchez will sit this one out, despite the influx of rumours suggesting he might actually make a miraculous recovery or declare himself fit against the wishes of the medical staff – I’m pretty sure Arsene won’t risk him unless he’s 100%. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also miss out due to injury, but Danny Welbeck returns and is available for selection. The rest of the absentees are as it stood last week – no returning players.

The main talking point amongst the folk I know is Tomas Rosicky. Does he deserve a start in a fixture he’s shone in over the past few seasons? I think he does, maybe at the expense of Aaron Ramsey. Tomas’ directness and speed of thought on the ball could be invaluable, and he quickens our attacks when he plays. Aaron Ramsey is lacking form a touch at present and I think Rosicky is the better pick for the game.

That said, I’m fairly sure Arsene won’t agree and we’ll be looking at the same team that beat Aston Villa so comfortably last week.

We’ll could start with an XI of:

So… Prediction time. For those of you interested, I did a preview of the game for Ultimate Fan Live in which Spurs fan, Nikhil Saglani and I gave our views from the opposing sides.

You can read it here.

In that piece, I stated I was going to predict a 2-1 win to Arsenal, but with the aforementioned nerves, I’m a little less confident. Damn you, pesky fluttery butterflies in my stomach.

I’m going to say it’ll be a score draw today.

That’s all for today, folks. I’ve a busy day off watching the game and preparing the latest Goonersphere Podcast which we’ll be recording a little later on in the day – hopefully with some good things to discuss.

The comments await you below, so use them to tell me your thoughts on the team, the result and who you think will bag the first goal. I’ll look forward to reading a few.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a report of the game. Until then, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

4 Comments

  1. Draxler The Destroyer

    Rosicky over Ramsey?! No way!!!!!!

    Reply
  2. FireflyPat

    We will win this. Giroud and Walcott on the score board with Ospina keeping a clean sheet again.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      @FireflyPat: I admire your confidence!

      Reply
  3. Roo

    I’d be happy to see Rosicky play, but I think the only way the Spuds will score is if Erikson gets a set play. We are solid. Everyone is playing for a clean sheet and Ospina is in charge. I can see us grabbing two or more. Be confident. Just as with MC, this game will define us.

    Reply

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