Premier League: North London XI

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The North London derby had gone slightly dormant for a spell when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal became the dominant team in English football.

Ever since Chelsea piped them to the tittle in the title in the 2004/2005 season they haven’t been able to regain their place at the top and have had a regular third or fourth place finish.

In recent seasons Tottenham have began their resurgence and haven’t finished outside of the top five since the 2008/2009 season.

These two teams seem to be a constant battle for the last Champions League position now that Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have been the main contenders for the title.

Now that we look at these two North London rivals as two teams very evenly matched and searching for the same goal the rivalry has intensified in the past few seasons.

With this in mind GMS contributor Jordan Halliday gives his view on the strongest possible line up if Arsenal and Tottenham combined their stars:

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

The man between the sticks at Tottenham came into the side last season from French side Lyon and wasted no time in knocking Premier League legend Brad Friedel off his perch – ending the American's run of 310 consecutive Premier League appearances.

Lloris may only be 26, but he has plenty of experience playing in Europe with Lyon, in the 2010 World Cup with France and captaining his national side during Euro 2012.

While Wojziech Szczesny has proven himself a commanding figure in goal for Arsenal, it’s Hugo Lloris’ experience and leadership skill that gives him the edge.

Right Back: Kyle Walker

The England international was named PFA young player of the year two seasons ago – which makes him ironically the first defender to do so since Arsenal’s Tony Adam’s in 1987.

The full back is full of blistering pace, which make him a threat going forward and also a nightmare for wingers to try and outpace. He is also well accomplished at taking set pieces, making him a goal threat.

Bacary Sagna’s career started well for Arsenal, but in recent years injuries have seen him spend a lot of his time on the sidelines, not truly getting the chance to hit form again.

Centre Back: Laurent Koscienly

Overall, Arsenal in recent years have had a defence that is sometimes prone to serious errors, but regardless of that this man has stood out for his individual performances.

The French international often carries the weight of his teammates on his shoulders along with Szyzcesny at the back. But he is resilient, tenacious and comfortable on the ball, giving him all the qualities needed to be a top modern day centre-back.

Centre Back: Jan Vertonghen

In many ways you could look at this Belgium defender as one of the signings of the summer last year. He is the definition of the modern day centre back.

Rarely has the Premier League been graced by a defender who has such an ability on the ball. Last season he was known for picking the ball up in defence and making forward runs right into the opposition box.

Apart from Gareth Bale, this man was probably Tottenham’s star man last season.

Left Back: Thomas Vermaelen

Although he is naturally a centre-back in this case I’d have to pick him as the left back, a position he has regularly filled in for Arsenal.

Vermaelen again is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and is a natural leader of his teams. With Kieran Gibbs and Benoit Assou-Ekotto both being players that at times have been known to make needless errors, it would probably be best to fir Vermaelen in somewhere due to being a far safer option.

Centre Midfield: Jack Wilshere

At the moment this young man is Arsenal’s prized possession.

And Arsene Wenger will want to make sure that he can keep him fit this season if Arsenal wants to secure a top four place and finish above Tottenham. The young England international has been praised by some of the top players in the world already, such as Dani Alves, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marco Reus. He’s without doubt one of the most gifted players on the ball in Premier League and has a passing range that’s second to none.

Still only 21 years-old he has a massive career ahead of him. He’s been heavily tipped to be a future Arsenal and England captiain. Steven Gerrard has even nominated him to take the roll once he finishes.

Centre Midfield: Mousa Dembele

The Tottenham man becomes the third Belgian International player on the team after Vertonghen and Vermaelen.

The big man proved during his time at Fulham that he was going to develop into one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League. Former manager Martin Jol even said he was the best player on the ball at Spurs. 

His strength, power and technical ability give him all the makings of a superb box-to-box midfielder.

Attacking Midfield: Santi Cazorla

The Spanish midfielder is definitely another candidate for one of the best signings of last season when Arsenal signed him in from Malaga.

Having featured in all 38 league games for Arsenal he finished with an impressive 12 goals and 11 assists. Cazorla has a terrific eye for a pass and eye for goal that makes his slot in perfectly behind the striker. He is also a master with a dead ball.

Usually it takes a foreign player a season or two to settle into the Premier League’s style, but Cazorla got off to the perfect start. If he improves on last year even slightly it can only be good news for Arsenal fans.

Right Forward: Theo Walcott

Last season the England striker really hit form for Arsenal finishing their top scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals.

No one has ever questioned Walcott’s speed or his ability on the ball, but sometimes over the years his end product has had a lot to be desired for. Last season, though, on top of his 14 goals he also got 10 assists, showing that maybe Walcott has finally hit that level of majority in the final third to make him one of the best in the Premier League.

If he keeps improving it can only be a good sign for England’s hopes in qualifying for the World Cup next year in Brazil.

Left Forward: Lukas Podolski

Taking into account Gareth Bale’s situation, I’m going to opt not to include him in the side. If he were guaranteed to be staying at Spurs he would definitely make the side in this position, though.

Lukas Podolski was brought in last summer along with Olivier Giroud to act as replacements for Robin Van Persie. While neither of them really reached the heights the Dutchman had before them, they both had a respectable season with Podolski scoring 11 goals in the league in 33 games.

There’s been speculation this summer over his future, but if Arsenal want to make sure they are fighting at the top of the table they need to keep their best players – and Podolski certainly is one of them.

Striker: Roberto Soldado

It surprised me that with Valencia being in such a bad situation financially that there wasn’t a bidding war between Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal over this man.

His record in for Valencia speaks for itself: 81 goals in 141 appearances is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed by bigger sides. In the last four seasons in La Liga he has finished every term with over 15 goals, which shows that the Spanish hitman is consistent.

He’s already scored 3 goals in 2 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham this season. He may have cost a club record of £26 million, but if his goals mean Tottenham secure Champions League football – and finish above Arsenal – then he will certainly have paid that money back in the eyes of Spurs’ fans.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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