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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.