Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur on the road in Thursday’s much-anticipated north London derby in the Premier League.
The Gunners made a poor start after the last international break with three league defeats, but there has since been a terrific response with four wins on the bounce.
As a result, they are now four points ahead of arch-rivals Spurs in the pursuit of fourth spot, and have their Champions League destiny firmly in their own hands.
Arsenal can seal their Champions League qualification with a victory in midweek, but it won’t be easy, having failed to beat Tottenham in an away league game since 2014.
Here is how Arsenal could line up against Spurs:
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale has failed to keep a clean sheet over the past seven Premier League games for Arsenal, but has made key saves in this period. The England star remains an undisputed starter in goal ahead of Bernd Leno, and looks set to continue between the sticks.
Defence: Arteta played with a back three to match Chelsea’s formation last month, and it could be the same case against Spurs to nullify any advantage. Ben White has missed the past two games with a minor hamstring injury. The 24-year-old should be fit to start alongside Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes on Thursday night.
Nuno Tavares started four league games for the Gunners before being dropped for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Leeds. The Portuguese has been defensively vulnerable, and it was probably the right decision in the end with Takehiro Tomiyasu comfortably seeing out the threat from Raphinha.
Tomiyasu should feature in a left wing-back position this time. This should pave the way for Cedric Soares to continue on the opposite flank. The Portuguese has produced a mixed bag of performances for Arsenal, but has definitely showed a better defensive resolve compared to Tavares.
Midfield: With Thomas Partey still nursing a thigh injury, it should be a straight-forward decision for Arteta. Mohamed Elneny was an unused substitute in the defeats last month. His return to the starting XI coincided with the club’s upturn in league form. The Egyptian has showed terrific composure in midfield with key challenges and has proved a perfect foil for Granit Xhaka, who has played in a slightly advanced position.
Attack: With three central defenders featuring, Arteta may decide to sacrifice Gabriel Martinelli despite his assists in back-to-back games against West Ham and Leeds. Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka have been ever-present figures in Arsenal’s attack this year, and are widely expected to line up behind Eddie Nketiah.
Nketiah has been a revelation for the Gunners over the past four games, bagging as many goals in the process. His braces against Chelsea and Leeds were pivotal in Arsenal picking up maximum points and is now a clear-cut starter over Alexandre Lacazette. He now has the chance to guide Arsenal to Champions League football with another top showing against Tottenham.
Expected Arsenal line-up (3-4-2-1) vs Tottenham