Why Arsenal must play on the break against Spurs!
After a rather fortunate victory over Leicester City in midweek, Arsenal face perhaps the most important game of the campaign so far against Tottenham Hotspur – a game which will be detrimental in Arsenal’s chances for a top-four finish and also an opportunity to dent Tottenham’s push for the title. Considering how Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been mixing up his tactics lately, it will be interesting to see what kind of approach he employs for the North London derby.
Personally, I think the team should sit back and play on the break. Spurs are lethal up front and if given an opportunity of a free-run against the Gunners’ backline, Harry Kane and Co. can really cause problems. As we saw in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, if the team has a robust defence, there is every possibility of a result even when you do not play particularly well. Now although this is not a given, playing it safe against a Spurs side high in confidence seems like like the right approach to take.
Moreover, Arsenal have the players who will be a perfect fit for this gameplan. Considering that Koscielny is likely to be fit on time, the Gunners will have a back-three consisting of the Frenchman, Gabriel and Holding, who we know can excel under this system. With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Monreal also tipped to start by Wenger, the team will have two wing-backs who have adapted well to their new roles and will be great going forward, although the Spaniard should be a little more alert at the back. If Giroud were to start up front, he could play the role of a targetman and hold the ball up for the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and the wing-backs.
In addition, Xhaka’s long-range efforts and Ramsey’s late runs into the box also represent odd chances at a goal. If Arsenal were to lose, it would kill all hopes of a top-four finish, so I believe the approach should be to sit back, defend with numbers, absorb pressure and try and snatch a goal or two when the opportunity presents itself. These tactics are not always pretty, but they are likely to be more effective considering the situation the Gunners find themselves in.