Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur. The North London derby. Arsene Wenger vs. Mauricio Pochettino.
[ MORE: Spurs injury update ]
This is it. Arsenal host Spurs this Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with both teams having plenty of selection headaches.
How will Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino line up their respective teams?
[ MORE: Wenger – We are not underdogs ]
Here’s a look at our projected starting lineups for both Arsenal and Spurs, with a brief explanation for both.
JPW’s projected Arsenal starting XI
—– Cech —–
—- Holding —- Koscielny —- Monreal —-
— Bellerin — Xhaka — Ramsey — Kolasinac —
—- Ozil —- Sanchez —-
—– Lacazette —–
The Gunners are without the injured Olivier Giroud, but this is a pretty settled team. The main decision for Wenger is will he go all-out attack from the start? Lacazette came off the bench at Man City last time out and scored as well as providing a threat. Surely he has to start in front of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. In midfield it will be intriguing to see if Aaron Ramsey starts ahead of one of the more defense-minded trio of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin. It’s highly-likely he will. Shkodran Mustafi may be fit to make his long-awaited return in central defense.
JPW’s projected Tottenham starting XI
—– Lloris —–
—- Sanchez —- Dier —- Vertonghen —-
— Aurier — Dembele — Winks — Rose —-
—- Eriksen —- Dele —-
—– Kane —–
So many injury concerns for Pochettino but Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Hugo Lloris all returned to full training on Thursday ahead of this game. That’s a big boost. Losing Toby Alderweireld for longer than expected is not and that will likely see Eric Dier slot into central defense and the duo of Mousa Dembele and Winks deployed in central midfield. The other big call Pochettino has to make is out wide in the wing back positions. He could choose either of Kieran Trippier or Serge Aurier on the right and Ben Davies or Danny Rose on the left. I think he will go for more athleticism in this game given the high intensity of a derby day. That said, can a fiery character like Aurier be trusted in the hostile atmosphere?