Spurs vs Arsenal
TV: BT Sport
On Saturday 10th the red side of North London march west to Wembley looking to reclaim their title as the Kings of North London.
In recent seasons the gap between Tottenham and Arsenal has shrunk. While the Gunners look to their historical dominance over their neighbours, Spurs have finally turned themselves into a threatening foe to their traditional rivals.
With both sides having delved into the transfer window, Arsenal have come out looking strong with Mkhitaryan and Aubemayang a scary proposition. Lucas Moura may get a bench spot but don’t expect him to start.
Spurs have developed a league leading defence under Pochettino, even without the world class Alderweireld they are still a very difficult team to break down. Davinson Sanchez being an astute acquisition who has stamped his mark on English football seamlessly.
However, Arsenal’s January transfer business was astute. The loss of Alexis Sanchez was inevitable. How Wenger would replace him was the question on everyone’s lips, with most doubting his ability to find adequate cover.
But out went Sanchez and Walcott, and in came the world class Aubameyang – scorer of 146 goals in 175 Borussia Dortmund appearances – as well as Mkhitaryan, the man credited with assisting much of Aubemeyang’s impressive Dortmund scoring record.
Mkhitaryan may have been outcasted by Mourinho, many great players have been ***coughs*** Kevin De Bruyne ***coughs***, but he was simply sensational at Dortmund.
Everton were abysmal in their 5-1 defeat to the Gunners last weak, nevertheless we got a frightening sighting of the clinical cutting edge that the ex-Dortmund men can provide.
If Spurs are going to get anything out of the game, they must be at their best defensively. Mesut Ozil has also signed a contract extension and looks to be hitting a run of form, having Aubameyang’s pace making runs behind the Tottenham defence for him to slide passes into will certainly bring the best out of the German.
If Spurs deploy a high defensive line, they could easily get caught out. If their pressing game is effective however, they may be able to stifle Arsenal’s ability to pick out key passes.
Christian Eriksen has been immense in recent weeks for the lily-whites, but it really is time for Dele Alli to rediscover his form of the last 2 seasons. There was a lot of hype surrounding his ‘great performance’ against Manchester United a couple weeks ago, but all I saw was sloppiness on the ball and bad decision making. He worked hard defensively, but so did Ryan Mason when he was at Spurs. (Take that as you wish)
Saturday’s derby will be a real test of whether this new look frontline can cut it against one of the leagues top defences. We also need to remember that Arsenal have not improved defensively, and they will be vulnerable to the likes of Son, Kane and Eriksen. The possible late introduction of Spurs new boy Lucas Moura is also likely to cause issues at the back for Arsenal.
It is going to be an incredibly tense battle at Wembley on Saturday, to try and call the winner here is a fools gamble. However, it’s in the job description so I’m going to be boring and tactically sit on the fence calling a 2-2 draw. All I know is that we are in for a real pulse raiser, here’s to hoping the old ticker doesn’t give in!
Written By Chris Wyles