Mikel Arteta will brace himself for his first-ever north London derby as Arsenal lock horns with bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at their opponent’s territory on Sunday. Aside from this being one of the trickiest tests for the Gunners, results of this fixture could also dictate the club’s fate in their fight for the Europa League places as they are trailing sixth-placed Wolves by just two points.
Tottenham, however, have been drifting away, especially since the turn of the year. The club has simply not been able to impose their dominance. As a result, the pressure is immense on Jose Mourinho right now. And it only intensified following a disappointing goalless draw with Bournemouth in midweek. However, a win on Sunday could potentially help them overtake not only Arsenal but also Wolves in the league table.
Tottenham Hotspur Vs Arsenal Tactical Preview
Mourinho is likely to stick to his tried and tested four-man backline, being one of the most defensively astute managers in the Premier League. The Lilywhites are expected to take a cautious, defensive approach yet again, looking to tire Arsenal out and then take full advantage of their vulnerability at the back. A traditional 4-2-3-1 could be in the offing.
Arteta, meanwhile, is more than expected to retain the 3-4-3 formation that has been so successful, of late. The three-man defence has provided more solidity at the back while simultaneously allowing more freedom to ball-playing individuals like David Luiz and Granit Xhaka. Expect the Gunners to dominate possession for the most of the game, with Tottenham sitting deep.
Tottenham will continue to miss out on the services of Eric Dier due to suspension while the defensive duo of Juan Foyth and Japhet Tanganga are out injured. Dele Alli is also likely to remain on the sidelines as he is nursing from a minor hamstring injury. There could be one key change in defence while the likes of Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura should return to the starting lineup after being rested against Bournemouth.
Predicted Tottenham Lineup: Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Lucas, Lo Celso, Son; Kane.
Arteta will have to deal with the three-game suspension of Eddie Nketiah heading into this fixture. But on the flip side, Nicolas Pepe is in contention to feature in the side while crucial players like Kieran Tierney and Xhaka are also available. Hence, we could pretty much expect the Arsenal manager to name an unchanged starting lineup against Tottenham this weekend.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup: Martinez; Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
The offensive duo of Harry Kane and Son must deliver the goods in the final third if Tottenham Hotspur are to hope for a win this weekend. The two simply haven’t performed to their potential since the restart. As a result, the club has struggled with a lack of productivity, which is never a good sign when facing a club like Arsenal.
Speaking of Arsenal, their fans, as well as Arteta himself, will be relying on Dani Ceballos to provide the creative essence in the middle third of the pitch. The Spaniard has been in majestic form, of late and is ready to make yet another considerable impact in the north London derby this weekend.
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