Tottenham v Arsenal: Five key battles (5)

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Mesut Ozil v Nabil Bentaleb

Football News

Nabil Bentaleb has proved himself to be more than just Tim Sherwood’s plaything as the Algerian has established himself as an important part of the Tottenham midfield. At his best, the academy graduate has an impressive range of passing, a hidden level of athleticism, and also a nasty little streak that may prove useful in the north London derby.

Mesut Ozil is another long term Arsenal injury victim, but has returned just in time as Wenger’s team find the purple patch that raises hope of more trophies after their barren spell was broken in the Fa Cup last season. His delightful pass for Olivier Giroud’s goal against Villa and cool finish for the second goal showed exactly what the German possesses - immense technique and ice cool composure.

Despite both playing in the World Cup in Brazil, both players still have doubts about their game. For Bentaleb, it is the feeling that he is not really the type of player to form the foundation for a midfield. At times the game can pass him by, but in Tottenham’s best result and performance of the season - the 5-3 win over London rivals Chelsea - Bentaleb was all action, fighting for every ball, jumping into challenges, and covering plenty of ground.

For Ozil, his at times lackadaisical demeanour can cast him in the bad light, and he can be on the periphery too much for a player of such ability. Undoubtedly he has not been helped by being played out wide, where his lack of explosive pace can hinder him, but given time and/or space to manipulate the ball how he seems fit he can be the main force behind his team’s victories.

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Premier League
Jan Vertonghen
Theo Walcott
Tottenham Hotspur

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