Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side travel to Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup on Wednesday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
The Capital One Cup is an opportunity to hand playing time to squad players, but Mauricio Pochettino can rotate his side without losing much quality. Spurs have a healthy squad, and it’s interesting that they’ve used no fewer than 21 players in their six Premier League games so far this season.
Pochettino has regularly used a 4-2-3-1 formation at Spurs, and encourages his defence to play a high line, keeping the side compact in midfield. As the below diagram shows, in the north London derby at White Hart Lane last season, Tottenham made most of their tackles in the middle third of the pitch.
It means Spurs are a difficult side to play through, although they can be exposed with longer balls in behind, especially when the centre backs stick too tightly to opposition forwards.
Pochettino is likely to rest Hugo Lloris and use back-up goalkeeper Michel Vorm instead. The Dutchman played five matches in this competition last year, but was left out as Lloris started in the final, a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea. Particularly talented in terms of distribution, he’ll help Spurs start moves from deep.
Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier started the 3-0 Europa League win over Qarabag last week and, after being dropped for Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, will probably return on Wednesday.
"Whoever Pochettino fields, Tottenham will offer a great attacking threat"
It remains to be seen what Pochettino does in the centre of defence, as the all-Belgian duo of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have started all seven matches in league and cup so far, but might be due a rest. Federico Fazio and Kevin Wimmer will hope for a start - although the former doesn’t seem suited to a high defensive line.
Spurs have injury problems in the centre of the pitch and might not rotate significantly. Tom Carroll, a solid passer, could link up with Dele Alli, a more attacking player with a great first touch and an eye for a trick. He could play higher up the pitch, if Mousa Dembele or Eric Dier play.
Going forward, Spurs have plenty of options. Harry Kane is yet to score this season, but Son Heung-Min has netted three times this week and could start. Andros Townsend should play on the right, while Christian Eriksen might see this as an ideal way to ease back into the side after injury.
Erik Lamela is another option, while exciting youngster Clinton N’Jie could make his first start after an £8m move from Lyon. Whoever Pochettino fields, Tottenham will offer a great attacking threat.
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