3 key battles that could decide Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspurs
Red vs white. Flair vs efficiency. Sliding tackles vs red cards. Ladies and gentlemen, It's North London derby time.
When two of the Premier League’s longest-serving members are divided only by a small amount of land, a clash between the two of them is titanic. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs will take on each other in the annual derby to decide who of the two have the better Twitter fan base. Really.
It’s filled with fights, bloodshed, and disgusting chants off the field. And with fights, bloodshed (not as much) and disgusting arguments on the field.
And while people seem to scramble around trying to find out just how Tottenham have become a force to reckon with in the Premier League, it’s worth knowing Arsenal have the better record heading into this weekend’s match – considering the last ten times these two sides met.
Arsenal have won five of the last ten matches against Tottenham with Gareth Bale’s former team only winning two. Three draws as well with two of them being the most recent ones coming in the two League games last season.
But the game is usually decided by certain players in each side. Dele Alli has become a hateable figure (for Arsenal fans) off late – like Emmanuel Adebayor or Michael Dawson. And Arsenal don’t have Jack Wilshere – their charismatic riot-starting chant-creating chest-pushing little bundle of testosterone and passion.
However, there are still certain players who could very well decide the game. Their matchups with the opposition could swing the game either way and could go a long way in deciding how the teams enter two critical months in the Premier League.
Here are three key battles that could decide North London #1 of the 2016/2017 season:
Mesut Ozil vs Victor Wanyama
By now, Victor Wanyama will know better than to do a ‘Kante vs Ozil’ this weekend. He’ll be prowling the German’s movements across the field snapping at his ankles if he has just to ensure Mesut Ozil doesn’t get the time to find a pass further forward.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante learnt it the hard way and paid for it by letting Ozil drift all over behind him to let Arsenal’s forwards through.
Wanyama is a tougher, quicker and stronger midfielder and will have his toughest job yet for Mauricio Tottenham’s side this season.
Ozil, however, is in a dream run of form scoring goals and being a pivotal figure in almost all of Arsenal’s attack going forward. But what’s improved from last season is the amount of time he’s spent sliding on grass sucking his thumb.
Ozil vs Wanyama is the kind of battle that could decide the game and Arsene Wenger will ensure he gives Ozil the right kind of support to flourish in the centre.