Erik Lamela battles for the ball during Arsenal vs Spurs in the Premier League.

Arsenal vs Spurs preview: opposition weaknesses

Arsenal vs Spurs the first North London derby of the season. We take a look at the Gunners’ main weaknesses.

The most anticipated match of the season is here. Arsenal vs Spurs is always the first fixture both sets of fans look for when the Premier League schedule is released. This season both teams are going well and expected to challenge at the top of the table. So, what are the Gunners’ main weaknesses that we can look to attack in Arsenal vs Spurs this Sunday.

Where Arsenal concede

There have been two main ways that Arsenal has conceded chances, and goals, this season. The left back zone and uncharacteristic errors

Left back zone issues

For all of the players Arsenal have bought to bolster various parts of their team, left back hasn’t been one they’ve invested heavily in. Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs continue to occupy the position with both susceptible to being exposed. Each player is good going forward, but both lack defensive awareness and can be got at in 1v1 situations.

This was highlighted in Arsenal’s recent 3-2 victory over Swansea. The Swans are making the progression to become a crossing team under Bob Bradley. Mo Barrow got at Nacho Monreal in the left back zone time and again throughout the match. Swansea created a host of chances through the left back zone, including a goal for Borja Baston.

Swansea chances created against points the way to scoring in Arsenal vs Spurs in the Premier League.

Swansea chances created against Arsenal.

Liverpool are the only team to win at the Emirates this season and they too had success through attacking here.

Goals for Coutinho and Sadio Mane directly from this zone showed how attacking Nacho Monreal directly could expose Arsenal. Adam Lallana also netted to show how  players can drift off Monreal as well. Lallana ghosted in from the left back zone to put home Georginio Wijnaldum’s low cross from the other side.

Liverpool chances created show weak left back zone ahead of Arsenal vs Spurs in the Premier League.

Liverpool chances created against Arsenal.

Three of Liverpool’s four goals came from exposing Arsenal’s left back. Our tactics for Arsenal vs Spurs on Sunday should carefully consider who plays on the right and how aggressive our full backs should be.

Uncharacteristic Arsenal errors

Arsenal are strong at the back, but this season they are making the occasional uncharacteristic and costly error.

Laurent Koscielny turned the ball over straight to Gylfi Sigurdsson to lash home a goal in their match with Swansea at the Emirates. Koscielny also made a poor clearance that allowed Roberto Pereyra to fire home a goal for Watford. Last weekend, a speculative long ball forward saw Shkodran Mustafi caught out by the bounce. Duncan Watmore charged through to be brought down for a penalty.

Only the high-risk ball passing teams at the back – Man City and Liverpool – along with the defensively weak Swansea, Palace and Boro have made more defensive errors than Arsenal this season according to OPTA.

Errors are only detrimental if they are punished with goals. However, only Liverpool and West ham have conceded more goals than the Gunners from their mistakes.

The Tottenham tactics for Arsenal vs Spurs should look at putting their back line under pressure to force miscues.

Press or sit?

The last two North London derbies at the Emirates have ended Arsenal 1-1 Spurs, but Mauricio Pochettino has taken a different attitude to pressing in each.

The first encounter saw us play deep and take away the space between the lines that Arsenal craves.

Mason and Capoue stifle space between the lines during Arsenal vs Spurs.

Mason and Capoue stifle space between the lines.

From this base we then looked to quickly break on the counter attack.

Last season we played a powerful midfield trio of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele. These three pressed and hounded higher up in the middle third along with Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela operating narrow to get five bodies in here.

Spurs compact midfield shape hounds Cazorla during Arsenal vs Spurs.

Spurs compact midfield shape hounds Cazorla.

Arsenal were often overrun and were lucky to get away with a point.

This season and both approaches have already had success against the Gunners. Liverpool’s pressing was way too much for them to handle. The Reds rattled off four goals in a scintillating seventeen-minute spell.

Middlesbrough went for the defend deep and counter approach with the electric pace of Adama Traore. His speed, combined with the hold up play of Alvaro Negredo, caused Arsenal no end of issues.

Boro take away space between the lines in their 4-5-1.

Boro take away space between the lines in their 4-5-1.

Both approaches have their merits and have been successful. Going with a powerful midfield trio is key to getting the job done in either case.

Arsenal vs Spurs outlook

Mauricio Pochettino is yet to taste defeat in four North London Derbies and his approach to how we line up is crucial in this one.

The make-up of our right side will be key to attacking Arsenal’s weak left back zone. Our midfield also needs to contain plenty of powerful ball recapturing players to deny Arsenal’s neat passing between the lines.

Arsenal have lost just one of their last twenty Premier League games. That was to Liverpool on opening day. The Reds’ victory provides plenty of clues to getting the job done. However, our struggles to put the ball in the net continue to be a concern.

Arsenal vs Spurs prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Spurs.



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11 Responses to Arsenal vs Spurs preview: opposition weaknesses

  1. Emmanuel 4th November 2016 at 10:54 am #

    arsenal 2 Vs Spur 1

    • David 4th November 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      go away

  2. David 4th November 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    I’ll assume Leverkusen was a freak occurrence, a once in a very, very long time thing.
    is Rose okay to start.? think this would be the time to blood in young Winks, remember Mason back then…

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2016 at 11:59 pm #

      Rose should be ok, I’ve not heard anything to say that he isn’t. I’d like to see Winks get some game time but can’t see it happening in such a massive game unfortunately.

  3. Sharkey 5th November 2016 at 12:20 am #

    Unfortunately, I cannot see us getting anything more than a point out of this match. And we’ll be lucky to come away with that.

    Every team in the Premier League now knows EXACTLY how we’re going to line up and how we’re going to play. We’re the most predictable side in the league.

    So lining up — as I fully expect us to — with Winks and Wanyama behind Eriksen, Alli and Son, with Jansenn or even Kane as striker will play straight into Wenger’s hands.

    Unless we start switching up formations, we might as well just start a goal behind. For this match, I’d like to see us play a deeper 4-4-2 with CCV coming alongside Vertonghen, plus N’Koudou and Son outside of Wanyama and Dier in the middle, with Dele just behind Kane upfront.

    We should be getting to byline and smashing in bullet crosses, instead of trying to fancy it through the middle like a third-rate Barcelona.

    That lineup would confuse and terrify Arsenal from kick-off.

    But no, we’ll almost certainly play high up with pitch, running our nuts off, until we’re knackered and Arsenal catch us on the break.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th November 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      We have become a bit predictable. I’d like to see us try a few more crosses in this match, especially if Janssen is up top. I think he’ll win a fair few for shots from them and cause knockdowns or generate second chances. I can’t see drastic changes to the line-up but someone that hits the byline like NKoudou could be a good wildcard here.

    • papillon 6th November 2016 at 12:43 am #

      “But no, we’ll almost certainly play high up with pitch, running our nuts off, until we’re knackered and Arsenal catch us on the break.”

      But those tactics worked against Man City, Sharkey!! Why shouldn’t they work against Arsenal? After all Arsenal play a similar possession based passing game and quality wise are no better than Man City.

      Arsenal, like City, have better quality players than Spurs since they can afford to pay their players far higher wages. That fact, along with their ability to afford higher transfer fees, means they attract a better quality player. To counteract that quality we have to harass and close down Arsenal when they are in possession and force them into making mistakes. This is what we successfully did against City. We have to “run our nuts off” to beat Arsenal.

      Pochettino is paid an awful lot of money to manage Spurs. Why, Sharkey, do you think as an unpaid fan, you know far more than Pochettino on how to beat Arsenal?

  4. Antony 5th November 2016 at 3:53 am #

    Unfortunately we are too predictable and with a lack of gaol scoring life is not easy this time around.

    One can live in hope that Poch becomes more aware of the value of surprise in setting out our stall.

    Mmmmm!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th November 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Our lack of goals are a worry, but we aren’t conceding that many. So, if our defence can keep us in it, we never know what might happen!

  5. Carrigbawn 6th November 2016 at 12:44 am #

    But no, we’ll almost certainly play high up with pitch, running our nuts off, until we’re knackered and Arsenal catch us on the break.”

    But those tactics worked against Man City, Sharkey!! Why shouldn’t they work against Arsenal? After all Arsenal play a similar possession based passing game and quality wise are no better than Man City.

    Arsenal, like City, have better quality players than Spurs since they can afford to pay their players far higher wages. That fact, along with their ability to afford higher transfer fees, means they attract a better quality player. To counteract that quality we have to harass and close down Arsenal when they are in possession and force them into making mistakes. This is what we successfully did against City. We have to “run our nuts off” to beat Arsenal.

    Pochettino is paid an awful lot of money to manage Spurs. Why, Sharkey, do you think as an unpaid fan, you know far more than Pochettino on how to beat Arsenal?

  6. Sharkey 6th November 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    “Why, Sharkey, do you think as an unpaid fan, you know far more than Pochettino on how to beat Arsenal?”

    I’m not saying I know more. But sometimes even a fan can see something more clearly from the outside than those on the inside. I’ve been saying since the end of last season that 4-2-3-1 is too predictable, and that we need at least one totally different possible formation in order to be able to spring surprise on the opposition. A couple of weeks ago on this site I suggested 3-5-2. Yesterday I suggested 4-4-2.

    Pochettino finally changed the system and went 3-4-3, which totally unbalanced Arsenal and but for an offside own goal would have resulted in an away win.

    Apparently then, Pochettino agrees with me, rather than you.

    Don’t mention it, mate. You’re welcome. ;)