Derby Week Preview: Spurs vs Arsenal

Spurs head into a critical match day against Arsenal on dipping form.      While back-to-back losses to Chelsea and Benfica may have the club looking vulnerable ahead of the North London Derby, it appears there is no better time for Tottenham to beat Arsenal.  This is a big moment and will tell us a lot about Spurs’ character.  Below, we have this week’s keys to a Spurs victory.

Protect the House

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Spurs enter the match having won five of their last four games at White Hart Lane and are 7-3-1 in all home matches this season.  Arsenal also have gone five years without registering a win at the Lane and are hoping to break that streak.  If there ever was a time to do so, it is now.  Though Tottenham boast the League’s best road record, they rank only 6th at home.  The biggest cause for concern, as has been the case any distance from home, is scoring.  Spurs’ goal differential at home is -2.  Thanks to lopsided home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City, that number is deflated a bit but is still not good enough.  To be successful this week, Spurs’ scorers will need to step up against a team that has frustrated them this season.

Missing Pieces

Arsenal are missing several key players this week and Spurs must take advantage.  Jack Wilshire (foot), Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Abou Diaby (knee), and Theo Walcott (knee) all remain out of the lineup, and now BBC Sport reports that Arsenal’s record buy, Mesut Özil, will miss at least four weeks with a hamstring injury.  The Gunners may have Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal returning this week, and Arsene Wenger has suggested that Kim Källström may make his first start.

The recent string of injuries has caused Arsenal to take a small dip in form recently and now appears the time for Spurs to strike.  Wenger will have the team well prepared, but late additions and nagging injuries may cause confusion over which  an aggressive Spurs can take advantage.

Unlock Arsenal’s Defense

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So far this season, Spurs have not scored against Arsenal.  Both AVB and Tim Sherwood have been unable to out-coach Arsene Wenger.  In both games, Spurs allowed a goal in the first half and Arsenal were able to deny opportunities the rest of the match.  Spurs will need to score quickly and put Arsenal into a position where they are less comfortable.

Sherwood appears to be going with the 4-2-3-1 again and Adebayor will be the lone striker.  Hopefully the larger midfield pays off this time.  If not, you can expect a very unhappy Tottenham squad.

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