In all formations, the squad could do with a more natural defensive midfielder with experience, but the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-1-2 are formations that least require such a player.
The 4-3-1-2 is a better bet because it is not easy for opponents to shut down Santi Cazorla, and there is decent width and balance if the players perform as they should.
Players, like Lukas Podolski, could play in positions where they will be more effective, and there is a great amount of depth for all positions.
The current 4-2-3-1 setup looks the best on paper, as Arsenal can get as many of its best attacking players on the pitch at once. The problems are similar to those in the 4-2-3-1 with a forward isolated, a central playmaker who can easily be stifled and a possible lack of width.
When set up narrowly, the 4-1-2-1-2 does provide more of an attacking threat with two forwards and has the majority of the squad playing in their preferred central position.
It would allow Arsenal to make good use of the central areas with four players combining in that area and allow the club to dominate games. Width would be the major problem with that formation.
Arsenal's probable starting XI are Woljciech Szcesny (GK), Bacary Sagna (D), Per Mertesacker (D), Thomas Vermaelen (D), Carl Jenkinson (D), Mikel Arteta (M), Jack Wilshere (M), Santi Cazorla (M), Theo Walcott (M/F), Olivier Giroud (F), and Lukas Podolski (F).
Why Arsenal Will Win
The Gunners are reeling, having tossed away two points last weekend in another London derby, that one against Fulham. Their defense is shaggy, their offense is sputtering and there are real questions about the team’s character. But this game is the biggest fixture of the year, and Arsenal knows they must show up. One fact in Arsenal’s favor: the Gunners historically are far better at home in this fixture, taking points in 75% of all meetings against Spurs.
After the Spurs’ 1-0 home defeat to Wigan last weekend, it was evident that something had to change in Andre Villa-Boas’ tactics and team selection. Playing 4-2-3-1 with a player ‘in the hole’ has its advantages away from home (notably with a victory at Old Trafford), but Spurs were criticized by fans and media alike for lacking any sort of creativity against the Latics. With all due respect to Wigan, Tottenham’s advanced four of Bale, Lennon, Dempsey and Defoe on their day are enough to trouble any defense in the league, but they lacked that creative spark in the formation that AVB prefers.
With all the injury questions surrounding this team, don't be surprised if Villas-Boas switches to a 4-4-2 formation. A formation that resembles the Redknapp years, the 4-4-2 will give Tottenham the opportunity to drop back more on defense and attempt to muffle Arsenal's scoring.
Tottenham's probable starting XI are Tottenham's probable starting XI are Brad Friedel (GK), Kyle Walker, William Gallas (D),Steven Caulker (D), Jan Vertonghen (D), Sandro (M) , Tom Huddlestone (M), Aaron Lennon (M), Gareth Bale (M), Clint Dempsey (F), and Emmanuel Adebayor (F).
Why Tottenham Will Win
The Spurs haven’t been firing on all cylinders but their fans will take comfort in the fact that they sit above Arsenal in the standings and arguably have more talent to work with. But following a bad loss to Wigan a fortnight ago and allowing Manchester City to come back on last weekend, this is now a critical test for AVB's men. The key will be the speed of Gareth Bale and play of Emmanuel Adebayor against his old squad. If Spurs win this one, “St. Totteringham’s Day” might not come this year at all.
So with both teams starting the season brightly but currently experiencing a dip in form, this particular North London derby clash is more important than ever, and will have a big effect on each team going into the next batch of fixtures for the season. The midfield will be the most crucial part of the battlefield to control, with Spurs boasting the likes of Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon amongst their ranks, while Arsenal can certainly offer a reply in form of Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta. Whichever team is "king of the hill" in the middle of the park will go on to be victorious in this tormenting fixture.