Arsenal v Tottenham: Analysis of tactical key points and player battles


Arsenal v Tottenham: Analysis of tactical key points and player battles

Picture: Ronnie Macdonald

This is one of those games where the 3-4-3 Arsene Wenger has been counting on since the FA Cup semi-final last season might not be the best possible option.

Spurs are likely to field a 3-6-1 (or 5-3-1) set-up with Danny Rose and Ben Davies as fluid wide men.

arsenal v tottenham

The problem for the Gunners stems from the fact that should Wenger field Xhaka and Ramsey, they would have to play against three: Harry Winks, Delle Ali and Cristian Eriksen. It’s doesn’t sound like an easy task.

With Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin engaged out wide, the Arsenal defensive trio could risk being stretched when engaging in the battle for the centre. This could leave plenty of space for Harry Kane and the speedster Son to settle in and do a variety of damage from.

To solve this problem, Wenger would be safe to field a different formation. The key to the three points will be the battle for the midfield, so either field three to match Pochettino’s selection or the current due will need to be extra vigilant and mobile to deal with the potential passing triangles. Since Xhaka is not known for his mobility, the responsibility will have to fall on Ramsey and, potentially, the front trio to cover in midfield.

Mesut Ozil is not particularly tenacious when defending and that’s another minus in this current setting. Ramsey would have to be extra vigilant and discipline in bid to stay and help Xhaka keep free space in midfield to a minimum. Sanchez and Ozil will have to track back and help in applying pressure too.

Key Battles:

Xhaka v Eriksen

It will come to this. Eriksen is in terrific form, having bagged a hat-trick for Denmark to beat Ireland and qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday. Xhaka in the meantime played the full 90 minutes in Switzerland’s goalless draw with Northern Ireland.

The Dane will be hard but not impossible to contain. Xhaka will have to keep an Athena on Eriksen at all times and should be careful not to give the ball away himself. The Swiss should also be encouraged by the potential cover of Laurent Koscielny who will be playing right behind him. Both should work together to deal with Eriksen while Mertesacker covers for the space they leave behind.

Predicted winner: Eriksen

Alexandre Lacazette v Jan Vertonghen

This is tough to call. The Belgian defender is considered as one of the best defenders in the Premier League by some. Hard to argue, since he has fitted quite well into Pochettino’s back-three, outplaying Alderweilder regularly for the centre spot at the back.

But faced with Lacazette, Vertonghen will have to make some sacrifices, notably his adventurous spirit which pushes him to roam forward and contribute to attacks. The French striker has hit the ground running since arriving at the Emirates from Lyon and has scored six goals in the last 11 games.

Predicted victor: Lacazette

 Harry Kane v Mertesacker

The veteran Arsenal defender finds his sweetest spot in defence sandwiched between Koscielny and Monreal – and this is Kane’s territory. The German may be slow, but with adequate cover, he can pose a formidable challenge to currently the best English striker.

Much of this outcome will be dependent on the battle for the midfield. Should Kane find himself between Mertesacker and Peter Cech, he will hardly forgive and forget.

Predicted: Mertesacker

Ramsey v Delle Ali

Aaron Ramsey will have to get used to the feeling of being overworked for this game. He is the Arsenal player on whom the whole outcome of the game might depend. Apart from covering for his midfield partner, Xhaka, Ramsey will have to play Cerberus to England hope Delle Ali. And that’s not an easy task.

Ali is a match-winner. He is coming back from a knee injury, having bagged two goals in Spurs’ dismantling of Real Madrid earlier this month, and should he find his mojo on matchday, he will be very difficult to stop.

Predicted: Ali



Load More

Manchester United Bayern joins race to sign Liverpool and Man United transfer target

Manchester City Guardiola identifies Real Madrid target as potential Sterling and Sane partner

Manchester United Jose Mourinho wants Neuer to replace De Gea

Chelsea Chelsea close to signing 23-year-old Roma defender

Arsenal Aubameyang has rejected offers from two La Liga clubs in favour of Arsenal

Talking Points Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea: What the Statistics Say

Manchester United Luke Shaw praises Sanchez after two days of training together

Chelsea Will Chelsea offer Eden Hazard for Ousmane Dembele?

Chelsea Chelsea transfer boost: Vidal uncertain over his future

Liverpool Liverpool close to signing 18-year-old left-back from Falkirk

Arsenal Could Arsenal make a u-turn on Aubameyang and sign Mahrez instead?

Talking Points Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Three things to expect from the Carabao Cup semi-final

Premier League 2017/18

# Team P GD Pts
1 Manchester City FC 38 79 100
2 Manchester United FC 38 40 81
3 Tottenham Hotspur FC 38 38 77
4 Liverpool FC 38 46 75
5 Chelsea FC 38 24 70
6 Arsenal FC 38 23 63
7 Burnley FC 38 -3 54
8 Everton FC 38 -14 49
9 Leicester City FC 38 -4 47
10 Newcastle United FC 38 -8 44
11 Crystal Palace FC 38 -10 44
12 AFC Bournemouth 38 -16 44
13 West Ham United FC 38 -20 42
14 Watford FC 38 -20 41
15 Brighton & Hove Albion 38 -20 40
16 Huddersfield Town 38 -30 37
17 Southampton FC 38 -19 36
18 Swansea City FC 38 -28 33
19 Stoke City FC 38 -33 33
20 West Bromwich Albion FC 38 -25 31