In a season filled with inconsistency the one recurring theme in Arsenal’s campaign has been their lethargic start to games.
To compound this matter, Arsenal’s second half performances have brought about their best football of the season.
If Arsene Wenger’s men fail to make a bright start at White Hart Lane in this Sunday’s north London derby then they run the risk of being behind by the time half time comes around and chasing the game in a hostile atmosphere would be difficult.
In order to avoid a first half lull they will need to begin the game with energy and vigour. If Wenger is to achieve this he would do well to start Lukasz Podolski on the left wing to provide his team with the early buzz to could prove so crucial in such an important game.
If Arsenal were to net an early goal it could allow them to dictate the game and control the ball which would ease the pressure off of a shaky back four.
A key feature of Tottenham’s attack is their blistering pace going forward. In Bale and Aaron Lennon they have two of the quickest players in the league and the best way for Arsenal to counter this is by simply keeping the ball.
Whilst his numbers aren’t eye popping Lukasz Podolski has still performed well and he is a constant source of energy down Arsenal’s left hand side. If Wenger is brave enough to start him this could be the kind of game that Podolski would thrive in and inspire the Gunners to a massive victory.
Wenger has been hesistant in using Podolski recently, though, favouring Santi Cazorla on the left hand side enabling Jack Wilshere to the central role in the midfield. If he were to play both Podolski and Cazorla the Spaniard would surely be deployed in a deeper role therefore negating his attacking tendencies somewhat.
Alternatively, he could play the Germany international through the middle, where he has played in the past before, and have Cazorla and Theo Walcott flanking him.
It will be interesting to see how Wenger sets his team up against Andre Villas Boas’s men. The Frechman knows how important a good start is in this game and he must utilise the tools available to him to ensure that it happens.
Jerry Van Wav