Former Arsenal hero rates Gunners XI vs Tottenham XI ahead of derby, this team come out on top

Alan Smith assesses the two North London sides' likely starting line-ups ahead of Saturday's pivotal clash.

Former Arsenal hero Alan Smith has risked incurring the wrath of the club's supporters by suggesting that Tottenham Hotspur's starting XI will be considerably stronger than the Gunners' in Saturday's North London derby, as published by the Telegraph.

The arch-rivals face off at White Hart Lane this weekend in a pivotal clash in the title race as both sides look to close the gap on leaders Leicester City.

Spurs know that they would go six points clear of the Gunners with victory, while Smith's former side could wipe out the three-point deficit between themselves and their rivals with a win.

The former Arsenal striker, who scored 115 goals in 347 games for the club, took a look at each side's likely starting XI for the all-important clash, and believes that it is Mauricio Pochettino's team which is the stronger on paper.

Smith thinks Spurs have key advantages in goal, with Arsenal number one Petr Cech injured, and in Laurent Koscielny's absence he also believe the hosts will have the far better central defence.

He has also labelled Tottenham as slightly stronger in defensive midfield, and claims that Harry Kane has the edge over Olivier Giroud in attack.

However, Smith does think that his former side have better options in both full-back positions, and that an attacking midfield trio of Joel Campbell, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez could be key for the Gunners.

Smith's ratings can be seen in full below.

Hugo Lloris - 9 vs David Ospina - 6

Kyle Walker - 7 vs Hector Bellerin - 8

Toby Alderweireld - 9 vs Per Mertesacker - 6

Kevin Wimmer - 7 vs Gabriel Paulista - 6

Danny Rose - 7 vs Nacho Monreal - 8

Eric Dier - 8 vs Francis Coquelin - 8

Mousa Dembele - 8 vs Aaron Ramsey - 7

Dele Alli - 9 vs Mesut Ozil - 9

Son Heung-Min - 7 vs Joel Campbell - 8

Christian Eriksen - 8 vs Alexis Sanchez - 9

Harry Kane - 8 vs Olivier Giroud - 7


Spurs total 87 - Arsenal total 81

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