In my tactical preview of Arsenal's encounter with Tottenham, I highlighted that Arsene Wenger's side would have to rely on Theo Walcott's speed and the space that Tottenham would leave behind their defence in order to cause their north London rivals problems.
I also highlighted the probability that Tottenham were going to have space in front of Arsenal's defence considering how physically strong their midfield is and the fact that Arsenal looked weak in that area in the previous matches.
Throughout the match I was proven right on the first point as Arsenal were using Walcott, who most of the time was higher than Olivier Giroud and he was the main avenue through which Arsenal were being dangerous, including the goal.
On the second premise, Wenger took the right precautions to ensure that the strong Spurs midfield (made up of Etienne Capuoe - Paulinho and Mousa Dembele) does not overrun his technical trio (Aaron Ramsey - Jack Wilshere - Tomas Rosicky).
While defending Giroud would drop very deep in order to help his team mates over come the physical prowess of their opponent and while attacking Santi Cazorla would drift inside to create a 4v3 in the middle thereby providing a numerical advantage, which given the high level of technique can be a problem to any midfield.
The downside of this is that they had to give away space on the Spurs' right side where Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend had a lot of space.
This has been noticed in both previous Spurs' games, against Crystal Palace and Swansea. Opponents seem to be happy to give away space to their wings and three matches into the season they have been proven right as neither of their wingers or full-backs to make the damage in relation to the space and time they have been permitted.
To conclude, we have seen Wenger responding to his team's weakness brilliantly by asking sacrifices from his players especially Giroud and Cazorla to great effect. It would be interesting to see Arsenal when Mikel Arteta is back and Mesut Ozil is in the team.
Tottenham on the other hand have found it difficult to serve decent balls to their star striker Roberto Soldado and are looking to be weak on the sides, however they still have to put the likes of Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen on the act and we will see how these two can change this scenario.
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