Mix ‘n’ Match: Spurs trump Arsenal as Defoe gets nod over Giroud

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With the North London derby now approaching, we have merged the players from Arsenal and Tottenham into one squad and attempted to uncover the best starting 11 between the pair.

And it is Spurs that have claimed the narrowest of edges by taking six spots in the 11, which may suggest that 13/5 is a price worth taking that Andre Villas-Boas leaves the Emirates with the three points.

Picking this team was trickier than first thought and only three players arguably selected themselves – Gareth Bale, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.

Settling on two central defenders proved fairly troublesome, as the top-four challengers have about seven or eight decent options between them, but none that stands out as being better than the competition.

Younes Kaboul has all the attributes needed to be a star in the position, but just has a tendency to switch off at times. Yet, this did look to be improving before he was unfortunately injured.

Thomas Vermaelen has been below-par in recent weeks but remains the most assured in possession, which will be of extra value in a passing team.

Kyle Walker and Kieran Gibbs were both worthy options at full back, but we opted for the better defenders in Bacary Sagna and Jan Vertonghen as there is no clear holding midfielder to cover either of them if they are caught out of position.

Mousa Dembele’s box-to-box style won him the final central midfield slot over Mikel Arteta and Sandro, meaning Wilshere would have to pull strings from a slightly deeper position in a mould similar to Andrea Pirlo.

Right midfield was another area of debate, with little seemingly between Aaron Lennon, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott.

However, the latter’s greater ability to turn in a match-winning performance won him the nod, alongside the greater danger he poses when running off-the-ball between centre back and full back.

In attack, Jermain Defoe and Olivier Giroud’s goal records are not too dissimilar this season, but the Spurs man is the more natural finisher.

And with this team liable to keep the ball on the deck, the greater target man is not as necessary.

Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with any of these selections, letting us know why we have got it wrong.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.