The Breakdown: Tottenham v Arsenal

We're back in Premier League action on Sunday when we face Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby at White Hart Lane.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke assess our opponents in detail.



MC: Mauricio Pochettino has rejuvenated Tottenham with his brand of high-energy, heavy-pressing football. Although it initially seemed as though Spurs were too reliant upon their pressing for their attacking play, they've developed a more creative side to their game over the past 18 months, with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli providing great invention from between the lines.


MC: Pochettino has played both 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-3 in recent weeks, and Spurs seem equally comfortable in either system. The former means room for an extra attacking player, most likely Son Heung-min, whereas the former suits Tottenham's flying wing-backs, with Kyle Walker and Ben Davies - in place of the injured Danny Rose - able to motor forward more regularly.


MC: Tottenham's ability to recover the ball quickly remains their main strength. With Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld capable of playing a high defensive line and Hugo Lloris a comfortable sweeper-keeper, Spurs attempt to play the entire game in the opposition half, squeezing quickly and consistently.
AC: Central midfield is the key battlefield and the biggest head-to-head battle I’m looking forward to seeing. Arsenal’s engine room has come in for some criticism this season and hasn’t really settled on a partnership. They’ll be up against Mousa Dembele and one other, from Victor Wanyama or Eric Dier, a really strong, potent midfield unit. We have to compete with them and shield and protect our back three as best as we can


MC: Harry Kane's goalscoring ability can hardly be ignored, but Alli is Spurs' in-form player. His brilliant runs from midfield into goalscoring positions are often impossible to track, and his ability to provide a moment of magic in tight situations is useful in terms of both creativity and goalscoring.


MC: Spurs push their full-backs (or wing-backs) forward aggressively, which means teams can sometimes exploit the space behind them with quick counter-attacks and forwards happy to drift wide. Arsenal might make this a key part of their approach.
AC: They don’t really have a great deal of weakness, even against Chelsea in their defeat at Wembley. They didn’t play too badly. I don’t see any obvious things we can exploit. Maybe on the counter we will be able to hurt them, crosses into the box… I think Jan Vertonghen is maybe the weak link in their defensive line.

More polls and quizzes to follow soon

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