Many have pointed out in the past few seasons that Spurs are not only back on terms with their North London rivals but that they are ahead of them. If it’s based on their current league position, then obviously they are better at present because they have picked up more points and proved to be more consistent.
They finished higher than Arsenal last term and qualified for the Champions League, none of which is in dispute but this Saturday the Gunners will be committed to prove the critics wrong.
Spurs have a better back line, no doubt about that but the Arsenal’s new midfield is as exciting as you are likely to get and the addition of Aubameyang up front certainly challenges the notion that Spurs have the best striker in Europe.
Kane is unquestionably good and is in a rich vein of form that has seen him notch up 100 League goals but do not underestimate the ambition of Aubameyang, who will pose a constant threat and thrives on being the centre of attention.
Arsenal’s purchase of Mkhitaryan will certainly reduce the pressure on Ozil to be constantly World class and the pair, in theory, could be a potent force once adjustments are made. Spurs problem is that they will now have to cope with the swagger of three of the most creative midfielders in the League and snuff out a truly penetrativefinisher..
Kane lacks blistering pace, it’s the only thing he lacks and if marked well, it will be others that are presented with the opportunities. Arsenal will have to defend as a team if they want anything out of this game because they are so vulnerable at the back.
The big question is, who loses out in selection? Ramsey, Wilshire or Xhaka?. Will Wenger consider Lacazette cutting in from the wing with Aubameyang cast in the lone striker role?. I might be tempted to revert to a back four, include Wilshere in the middle with Ozil and put Lacazette and Mkhitaryan on the flanks.
Lacazette has been written off prematurely and his inclusion would allow him to prove a point. The media are already selling him in the summer after a stuttering first season with limited opportunities and pre Ozil and Mkhitaryan.
Another selection dilemma would be the inclusion of a holding midfielder such as Elneny or Xhaka. Both are equally patchy in the position and would prove pointless, so the only other player worthy of contention would be Ramsey who was marauding in his last match but that would be at Wilshere’s expense.
Wenger will not make too many changes now the team have displayed togetherness and spirit but he will surely change the shape and defend deeper. Monreal and Bellerin may have to resist their natural urges to push forward and instead provide the midfield axis with the ammunition to punish Spurs.
The smart money says that the teams will cancel each other out and only get a draw but Arsenal like Wembley and enjoy the wide areas more than most. Mkhitaryan has apparently been putting in extra training sessions with the forwards and it’s clear that the Armenian wants to show what he can do.
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