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All Guns Blazing: Arsenal’s selection headache is nice to have ahead of north London derby

11:37 04 February 2015

Arsenal

Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game in the fixture last season. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

PA Archive/Press Association Images

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Uche Amako ponders who might miss out ahead of Saturday’s match again Tottenham.

In the days leading up to the north London derby, there is always a buzz and sense of anticipation.

And it’s no different this time as both teams come into the game in great form and with key players delivering match-winning performances.

With five wins on the bounce, injured players back and making an impact, a noticeable emphasis on defence and a new centre-back brought in, it feels like Arsenal are moving forward again.

Sunday’s emphatic victory over Aston Villa was almost a complete performance, but more than anything, it highlighted what the team are capable of when they have a relatively fit squad to choose from.

Saturday will be a case in point as Arsene Wenger faces a selection dilemma. Does David Ospina keep his place? It will be his first derby match but he has been cool, calm and collected since he took the goalkeeper’s jersey from Wojciech Szczesny and seems to have quickly gelled with the defenders in front of him.

Is Hector Bellerin now ahead of Calum Chambers? After a whirlwind start to his career, Chambers suffered when Arsenal’s defence was leaking goals. But Wenger’s decision to take him out of the firing line has given Bellerin a chance and the young Spaniard has taken it brilliantly. If a great defender like Gary Neville lavishes praise on you, the hype is justified.

The lack of midweek fixtures and a minor hamstring injury should mean our MVP Alexis Sanchez will be fit and ready to cause havoc at the weekend. So who in attack from the Villa match misses out?

Chances are it will be Theo Walcott because, despite his goal, there were still signs of understandable rustiness. To have the option of his pace off the bench will be a tremendous asset to call upon.

Elsewhere in our forward line, does Tomas Rosicky deserve a place in the team given his recent form and fondness of scoring against Spurs? As it stands, it appears he will also miss out but if anyone picks up an injury, Rosicky’s work-rate, enthusiasm and experience would be invaluable.

So all in all, everything is in place for Arsenal to really make a statement against Spurs: keep up the momentum, maintain pressure on our nearest rivals and make sure north London remains red.

Follow me @UcheAmako

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