On Wednesday, Arsenal finally hit their offensive stride as they eased to a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven, and such potency spells huge danger for Sp*rs ahead of this weekend’s North London Derby.
The Gunners no doubt profited from a questionable PSV setup and will face a more tactically astute proposition on Sunday, but Ange Postecoglou also employs some high-risk/high-reward methods that could leave Tottenham vulnerable to the threat of our in-form frontline – beginning with his two inverted fullbacks.
While one inverter is very fashionable across the football landscape, ‘Big Ange’ often goes a step further and, at times this season, has instructed both Destiny Udogie and Pedro Porro to drift into midfield alongside Yves Bissouma.
Double inversion allows James Maddison and Pape Sarr to venture forward into the half spaces and, as a result, gives Sp*rs a crucial numerical advantage in the final third – which they have so far exploited to great effect (13 goals, seven different goalscorers in five league matches).
How a reborn Arsenal attack can capitalise on Spurs’ risky defensive structure
However, combined with an aggressive man-oriented press, this approach means our visitors are defensively understaffed when possession is lost and can be picked off in transition, just like PSV were in midweek.
Their potential weakness would have been tailor-made for Gabriel Martinelli, but counter-attacking remains a viable option even in the Brazilian’s absence. His replacement, Leandro Trossard, certainly has the pace to exploit any gaps and is primed for his first NLD appearance following two fine strikes in each of his last two games.
Elsewhere, Gabriel Jesus stole the show against Peter Bosz’s men and will bamboozle the typically impulsive Cristian Romero with his technical skills, while Saka can always find space (even if it is not as forthcoming as in midweek) and will punish Sp*rs if given the chance to race in behind a scrambling defence.
After a modest goal-scoring start, the Champions League rout may now open the floodgates at Arsenal, and will at least offer a timely confidence boost that could prompt a structural rethink from our expansive London neighbours.
It looks set to be an enthralling derby, and a difficult one for both teams, but our recent dominance in this fixture suggests they won’t want to face us at this time.