3. Oleksandr Zinchenko
Although Arsenal have been relatively unable to play their free-flowing football at times against entrenched opponents, they have certainly been able to dominate the ball. Other teams have rarely been able to create attacks. At the centre of this control has been none other than Zinchenko.
Few players in the world have the level of technical ability and press resistance that Zinchenko has. Opponents find themselves chasing shadows as the Ukrainian drops a shoulder before gliding across the pitch. He also possesses incredible intelligence. Slotting into midfield with ease, he progresses play through the centre of the pitch. Whenever a release valve is needed, he is there.
Zinchenko’s brilliance is especially felt when teams visit the Emirates, often with a set-up designed to relinquish possession and constrict space. Tottenham’s approach remains to be seen, but Ange Posetcoglou is unlikely to deviate from his bold ideals. Regardless of how they are set up, Zinchenko’s availability will allow Arsenal to excel.
If Tottenham look to sit deep, he can shift the ball quickly. If Tottenham look to be more attacking, he can drift between the lines, receive the ball and work it up to the forward line. If Arsenal can consistently get him on the ball, he gives his team a much better chance of securing the win.
Arsenal’s performance against PSV will certainly buoy spirits. The Dutch team showed why so many teams have been reluctant to press Arsenal or even attack. Tottenham pose their own threat but the form of the three players above will go a long way before deciding what may be the most exciting North London Derby in recent years.