Arsenal take on Tottenham in their second home this weekend, in a game that will go a long way to deciding the top four this season. A win for Arsenal will see them very much back in the mix, while a win for Tottenham will put them seven points clear of their North London rivals. This game is huge, and Arsenal must line up at full strength to outplay and ATTACK Tottenham.
Over the last few years, Arsenal have struggled at white Heart Lane, as they have at many small grounds with tight pitches – Stoke, Chelsea, Swansea, West Brom etc. Wembley is a different story. The Wembley pitch is similar in size to the Emirates, and Arsenal thrive on it, with nine wins in their last nine visits.
With the space available, Tottenham won’t be able to overrun Arsenal with strength and physicality; this will be much more of a ball playing experience. With this in mind, Arsenal must set up to take full advantage of the spaces Tottenham leave at Wembley, and that means playing both Lacazette and Aubameyang on the same pitch.
With this in mind, Arsenal must look at a 4 – 2 – 2 – 2 system:
Cech is an error waiting to happen, committing more individual errors that have led to goals than any other player in the Premier League (4), but his experience and level headedness will be key in this game. Cech knows how to command his box, and although his reactions have slowed, his leadership is still there, which could prove vital in a derby.
Bellerin – Mustafi – Koscielny – Monreal / Kolasinac
Arsenal’s last two home games have seen them score nine and concede two, following a return to four at the back. The players are much more comfortable with this system, and Koscielny and Mustafi work better together in a four, as neither get drawn into a false sense of security with the extra man to cover.
Ramsey – Wilshere
But, these two can’t play together! Ramsey and Wilshere are two supremely talented central midfielders, with one processing the power to score and the other to create. Defensively, both have their criticisms, but after 18 months of persisting with GanitXhaka, the time has come to admit that he is not the answer.
Wilshere has played in the holding role for England on numerous occasions, and he has thrived there. Arsene Wenger must spend this week drilling into him the importance of discipline, and if he does, this partnership could thrive. Jack knows what this game means to the fans, so does Ramsey, and the pair will give everything to win. This is a gamble worth taking.
Mkhitaryan – Ozil
Arsenal’s creative duo set the Emirates alight on Saturday, and they can do the same at Wembley. Both perform best when given the license to roam, and this will cause havoc for Tottenham’s defensive unit who are not used to facing players who operate in the fashion.
Lacazette – Aubameyang
These two CAN play together. Like Ozil and Mkhitaryan, both players like to move around in the final third. Auba offers pace and flamboyance, while Laca offers intelligence in his movement and ruthless finishing, making them a deadly pairing to try and pin down. With two strikers constantly making runs, Ozil and Mkhi will have plenty of options to pick out, and the Tottenham defenders will constantly be on edge.