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Inside Lane: A Spurs fan picks his Tottenham and Arsenal XI

Tottenham's Gareth Bale (right) in action against Arsenal's Santi Cazorla at the Emirates Tottenham's Gareth Bale (right) in action against Arsenal's Santi Cazorla at the Emirates

By Ben McAleer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
7:00 AM

Tottenham blogger Ben McAleer selects his North London XI ahead of this weekend’s derby at White Hart Lane.

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Whether it’s at the Lane or the Emirates, Tottenham and Arsenal supporters look forward to this encounter more than any other.

Since the two teams met back in November, Spurs have been defeated just once in the Premier League and have moved up to third, while Arsenal have lost three times and lost ground in the race for a top-four finish.

Naturally, journalists, fans and pundits will be debating who has the better players in each position and attempting to come up with a combined XI.

Ahead of the 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Gunners this time last season, many selected 10 Spurs players, with Robin van Persie as Arsenal’s sole representative in the team.

Opinions swayed significantly following the full-time whistle though, and it is fair to say that the squad will be more mixed this time around – so here’s my North London XI.

There is little debate over the goalkeeper and, without question, the excellent Hugo Lloris would get the No1 jersey ahead of the error-prone Wojciech Szczesny, who was culpable for Aston Villa’s goal at the Emirates at the weekend.

Spurs would also dominate the defence, and personally I would field Jan Vertonghen at left-back alongside Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker – but Kyle Walker’s poor form means that Bacary Sagna would get the nod at right-back.

I would opt for a 4-2-3-1 system, and even an injured Sandro would be more productive than Scott Parker in the centre at present. If he were fit, the Brazilian would be an automatic pick, but who would partner him?

Mousa Dembele has been impressive this year but his performances have recently dipped, while Jack Wilshere has been in fine form, so the England man would slot in comfortably alongside Sandro.

An attacking trio of Gareth Bale, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Lennon would be an obvious fit and, despite the goalscoring form of Jermain Defoe earlier in the season, Olivier Giroud would offer a real focal point to the attack.

With a record of 14 goals and 10 assists in 38 games in all competitions, the Frenchman would give this combined north London outfit the burly attacking threat that it requires.

Of course, Emmanuel Adebayor has represented both clubs, but I doubt either set of fans would want to see him in the team.

Follow me on Twitter @benmcaleer1

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