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Arsenal vs Spurs | Rob's tactical analysis, Ben's one to watch...

Fri 22 September 2023, 17:10|Tottenham Hotspur

Club commentator Rob Daly and Ben Haines, presenter of both our Warm Up Show and Review Show on SPURSPLAY, look ahead to Sunday's Premier League derby against Arsenal at the Emirates (2pm).

Rob's tactical analysis

"I'll start with Spurs this week and, in terms of team selection, the question marks are in attack. Do you consider bringing in Richarlison or Brennan Johnson, perhaps? My gut feeling is probably not and that it will most likely be the same attack, maybe even the same 11 that started the game against Sheffield United, despite how impactful the substitutes were off the bench on Saturday. Of course, it's a massive blow to lose Ivan Perisic for such a long spell, because we've seen what a brilliant player he's been off the bench at the start of this season, particularly that set piece quality, which will be sadly missed. I think whoever plays as centre forward has a really important role, not just in terms of attacking and scoring goals, but also being that 'out ball', that relief for the team. I think of the way that Arsenal press and how they squeeze the pitch, even though Spurs have really talented midfielders who can take the ball under pressure on the half-turn, like Yves Bissouma, Pape Sarr and James Maddison, there will be times where Arsenal squeeze Spurs into difficult situations. I think how effectively Manchester City used the longer ball in their home win over Arsenal last season, if it's Heung-Min Son up front, I've been impressed with his play with his back to goal, a surprising element of his game when he's played as a striker this season, hopefully, if he's in that position, he can help the team in difficult situations.

"For Arsenal, it looks like Gabriel Martinelli might not play because of a hamstring injury he picked up against Everton last weekend. He also missed the Champions League win in the week against PSV. However, Leandro Trossard has been excellent. He scored the winner off the bench at Goodison, scored again in the Champions League. So, Martinelli not playing is not necessarily a massive loss for Arsenal, Trossard could be a threat for Pedro Porro or Emerson Royal, whoever starts on the right. Arsenal have a couple of injuries including Jurrien Timber, who got injured at the start of the season, and Thomas Partey. On the other side, Bukayo Saka vs Destiny Udogie is going to be, possibly, the key match up in the game. That will be absolutely brilliant. We also have two of the premier midfielders in the league going head-to-head in Bissouma and Declan Rice. The one thing I wonder about Arsenal is if they will make a change in central midfield. They've been using Kai Havertz in a three-man midfield, so, will they try to establish a bit more control? Will Mikel Arteta consider bringing in Jorginho for a first league start of the season. I wouldn't be surprised. Arteta has spoken about how differently he treats each game, he will be aware that Spurs like to be on the ball, like to dictate the pace of the game - he might mix things up a little."

Ben's one to watch

"I'd like to start with last week. We knew it was going to be that much harder because Sheffield United sit in and are difficult to break down, and we knew that there were going to be some unbelievably good tussles including Oli McBurnie against Cuti Romero - and what a battle that was! How special was that finish? Amazing! Players to watch this weekend, for Spurs, I'm going with Destiny Udogie. He will have an absolute ding-dong against Bukayo Saka, who I'm going to pick as well, and who looked fantastic in Arsenal's win against PSV in the Champions League and, if truth be told, is just a phenomenal player. The nicest way I can put this is that I love watching him play for England. At weekends, it's a different story! He's wonderfully gifted, seems like an incredibly rounded player in terms of goals, assists, the works. So, Saka for them, Destiny for us. What a battle that could be with Destiny bombing forward and trying to do everything he can from an attacking point of view, but we also saw last weekend how crucial he is in terms of winning possession - he was the player who won the ball back in the 100th minute, bursting forward, pressing high, and that leads to Deki Kulusevski's winner. We know at times Arsenal will get through us just because of the technical quality they have, at times we'll get through them, but he will be crucial going both ways for us. He's been fantastic already, but I think there is a huge, huge afternoon ahead down that side of the pitch at the Emirates."