Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.
Arsène Wenger's side play Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. To find out more, we asked tactical expert Michael Cox.
In their second season under Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham continue to appear well-organised, hard-working and compact without possession. They’re unbeaten since the unfortunate opening-day defeat at Old Trafford, but require more attacking spark to turn draws into victories.
"Eriksen is a diminutive creator who likes receiving the ball between the lines, playing through-balls and having shots"
Four of the back five are ever-presents in the Premier League this season. Hugo Lloris takes a aggressive starting position and is capable of sweeping behind a high defensive line, where Toby Alderweireld has made an excellent impact alongside Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the defence.
Right back Kyle Walker has improved positionally and still offers tremendous speed going forward. On the opposite side, Ben Davies is the steadier defender, but Danny Rose’s development under Pochettino has been impressive and he’s another with tremendous speed.
Spurs’ midfield is extremely proactive, with Pochettino’s core strategy about pressing the opposition intensely. Eric Dier, formerly considered a defender, has been surprisingly effective in a defensive midfield role, usually alongside Dele Alli, who moves forward into attack more, boasting a tremendous first touch and some clever trickery.
At the top of the midfield trio in Spurs’ 4-2-3-1 formation, Pochettino can use either Christian Eriksen or Mousa Dembele. Eriksen is a diminutive creator who likes receiving the ball between the lines, playing through-balls and having shots from range, whereas Dembele starts much deeper and excels with his ability to slalom past opposition challenges, although he has a frustrating tendency to offload the ball sideways rather than look for a killer ball.
Erik Lamela has started the last six Premier League games on the right, and while he tends to drift in and out of matches, he consistently provides killer passes on the edge of the box, and has managed two league goals too.
Up front, Harry Kane managed just two goals in his first nine league games this season, but has now managed four in his last two. Besides, while he wasn’t providing the ruthless goalpoaching of last season, he’s dropped into deeper positions and his link play has been particularly impressive, although he needs midfield runners charging past him
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