So, it’s coming.
Us vs. Them.
60,000 ground vs. 62,000 ground.
And 30 major trophies vs. 17 major trophies.
And a league title won in recent memory vs. a league only fully remembered by the very elderly.
That lot has had some issues lately since Pochettino has made some public statements perhaps showing some issues behind the scenes.
Christian Eriksen may still leave before the UEFA-wide window shuts.
Danny Rose was said to be at the Watford training ground, in anticipation of a move.
And Pochettino is alluding to being unhappy at both transfer dealings and his role at the club.
This compounds with a loss to Newcastle United, when we beat them away in the first game of the season (hahaha…) They seemingly didn’t play well at all vs. the Toon, though Kane’s penalty shout was highly contentious and disallowed by VAR.
But despite their lows, they still have players who can hurt us. We should be confident, but not over-confident in this match.
The old cliche cites “form goes out of the window in derbies”. This is true, and they would see a good result – or even a win – as a great comeback following bad results and supposed internal tensions.
Who from that lot’s side can cause us the principal issues?
The evident ones are Kane and Son.
But what about:
– Ndombele – pressing, energy, passing
– Sissoko – akin to Ndombele but adapting well since the initial slow start following his Toon move
– Verthonghen- liability in last season’s game but still a top-level defender.
– Rose – pace and crossing
– Walker-Peters – pace and crossing
– Lloris – not at the level as prior – but still has pedigree and excellent shot-stopper
– Alli – dipped since his 15/16 and 16/17 breakthrough seasons. But still quality and would be up for it, especially due to the “bottle” incident.
I hate that lot, naturally, but they do have some good players.
And Poch will have some kind of plan to nullify us and exploit our weaknesses.
But our danger men can cause them issues too, namely:
– Sokratis bossed Kane at Wembley game last season and is up for a physical challenge
– Luiz is out for redemption following Anfield debasements
– Leno wants to prove his stock further – get two wonder saves in Wembley game last term.
– Torreira back – up for battle with their midfield
– Guendouzi – long-range distribution and energy to match their mids
– Xhaka – may play here but has energy and can be up for pressing when needed.
– Willock – still young but who doesn’t want to play in the big games? has energy and spark to cause them issues
– Ceballos – poor at Anfield, but can have the creative spark to bring things to the fore
– Auba – enough said. World-class finisher and hopefully out for redemption following pen miss at their place.
– Laca – world-class nine and a half who scored wonder goal at home to them lot last term.
– Pepe – the red hot chilli Pepe was outstanding at Anfield. he can cause them a lot of issues, and has to start. it could be his homecoming, and he was burgeoning in both Burnley and Liverpool games. a goal here would send his Gooner stock high.
So we can hit them hard, though we have to watch for Kane, Son and their other top-level players.
In defence, we need to cut the mistakes down.
They will look to exploit this, as it’s well-documented that we cannot defend well.
This means Luiz could be called into question, but we need to be resolute and strong throughout.
The midfield is also key, as they will look to subdue us, as we will do to them. Part of their “success” (since they’ve won nothing lately) is a mobile and strong midfield, and signing Ndombele is a key replacement for Dembele, who left for China earlier in 2019.
Their attack is very good, and Kane will look to increase his scoring tally against us. He played poorly in both games last season, but still scored two penalties. With VAR about, we need to be careful not to commit any inane fouls in the area. Though this applies as much to Kane, as he may look to dive or simulate excessive contact. It could be that he didn’t get his Toon penalty due to his growing reputation for this.
Our attack though is something they need to watch for. And in many ways, it’s more potent than theirs thus far.
Auba is on top form, and Pepe shone vs. Burnley and Liverpool. He’s burgeoning to shine again, and it could be that Spurs could be his homecoming.
Laca is eager to start I’d presume, and he does better in bigger games vs. the top six than Auba. Auba is more prolific of course, but Laca has scored vs. all of the top six since he arrived. Both got wonder goals in our win last season, so Tottenham knows they’re our danger men. How they handle our forward pace and interchangeability will be key to us winning and them keeping us out.
This would be my team here vs. Spurs:
I’d play the trinity of Auba, Laca, and Pepe, and a mobile mid-three of Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos.
Luiz will start again, though we need NO more mistakes from him like what happened at Liverpool.
The battles will pivotal for both sides in the same areas.
The pendulum is swinging in our favour, though it won’t be easy.
They will not want to lose to us, evidently, but they do have players who can hurt us if needed.
But they’ve only beaten us at home in the league only three times since the mid-1980s. And based on current form and confidence, we need to capitalise.
A win would be a major boost in various ways – not just because we hate them. But it would be an early psychological push in getting top four for this season.
Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
I believe we’ll edge it, as our greater confidence and attacking prowess may edge things.
More of this and a similar result though would go down a treat: