3 ways Arsenal can defeat Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley
Despite being known as Arsenal’s inferior, younger sibling, Tottenham has seemingly come of age in recent seasons. Last season they finished above the Gunners and since Mauricio Pochettino took over the reins, there’s been a subtle power shift in North London. Spurs have only lost once in their past seven meetings with Arsene Wenger’s men.
If there was ever a time for Arsenal to buck the trend of their appalling away record, this Saturday would be the time. Not only is it a North London derby, it’s Arsenal’s best opportunity to close the gap on their top-4 rivals.
Here are three ways Arsenal can beat Tottenham.
Play a 4-3-3
It’s fair to say that Arsenal hasn’t had much luck on their away travels against top six opposition. In fact, the only times they’ve had success is when they’ve opted to play on the counter-attack; there’s no better counter-attacking formation than the 4-3-3 as the system provides width in attack, coupled with compactness off the ball.
If Wenger were to field a midfield three of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mohammed Elneny, he’d have the solidity in the middle he needs to stifle Tottenham. Ramsey would be given the freedom to roam forward but also tasked with pressing Tottenham’s midfield, while Wilshere and Elneny would more or less retain their positions off the ball.
So, where does this set up leave Mesut Ozil? Many would prefer him to line-up as a #10, but the German would excel from the left, too. He is good enough to create from the wide areas and if he deems it necessary, he could still drift in centrally. With Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang ahead of him and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on his right, he’d have enough attacking outlets available to hurt Tottenham.
Force Spurs into mistakes
Tottenham may be a tactically sound team, but they proved against Liverpool that they’re susceptible to mistakes once pressured. Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing tactic disrupted Spurs' attempt to play out from the back majorly.
If Arsenal is to play on the break, they don’t have to go gung-ho in gegenpressing, rather they can cut off all possible passing options for the defence. When Hugo Lloris attempts to pass out from a goal kick, he should have no other option than to boot it out up the field, thus giving Arsenal a better chance of winning a turnover.
Man-mark Christian Eriksen
Harry Kane has often been cited as Tottenham’s talisman. Stopping Christian Eriksen, however, stops the Lilywhites. The Dane single-handedly orchestrates Spurs' attacks and provides a platform for the men in front to thrive on. In 25 league appearances, the 25-year-old has created 63 chances, scored 7 goals and provided 6 assists.
If Arsene Wenger can instruct one of his midfield players to constantly stay tight to Eriksen, it’d go a long way in disrupting Tottenham’s build-up play. Christian Eriksen has never been a player that excels in tight spaces, he instead causes the most damage when afforded acres of space, especially on the counter-attack.