Arch-rivals Arsenal and Tottenham take each other on in the Premier League this weekend. It will be a rather interesting clash, with one team doing well offensively, and the other struggling to find goals.
Arsenal have scored 19 goals since October (in all competitions) while Spurs have only managed 5 in the duration. They come into this game at the back of a 0-1 loss against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. Naturally, this profligacy in the offence seems very dangerous for the Lilywhites.
Tottenham are still undefeated in the league, but it counts for little when you can only manage 1-1 or 0-0 draws. Despite being one of the best-managed teams, Spurs really need to get their act together to ensure they can finish in the top 4 at the end of the season.
Spurs desperately require sharpness in the final third, especially in this fixture as Arsenal’s defence is one of the best in the league. Pochettino needs to make tactical changes to ensure Arsenal’s three consecutive league draws are followed with a better result.
Vincent Janssen has shown glimpses of real quality but is yet to score a goal from open play. However, he cannot be blamed as the creation of chances behind him has been really poor off late. In fact, against Leicester City, Janssen received no passes at all from Son Heung-min or Dele Alli. He received just three passes, one from Christian Eriksen, one via a set-piece, and another inside the Spurs half.
This is telling. The side has two great full-backs but in the recent games, too much has been dependent on Danny Rose and Kyle Walker. Against Leicester City, Rose managed four shots, while Walker set up three attempts. While it is great that Spurs receive a lot of attacking impetus from their two full-backs, the majority of the same should stay with the playmakers and attackers.
Janssen differs from Harry Kane as a player, as he possesses a different set of attributes leading the line. He can combine well with attackers in tight spaces and prefers to play a style that would bring others into the game. His hold-up play is impressive.
However, the attack hasn’t clicked lately, and many have even doubted Janssen’s acquisition. Kane likes to linger on the shoulder of centre-backs and run into the box. He is not a static striker, but is more of a centre-forward than the Dutchman. And without the Englishman, Spurs have really lacked that same threat in front of goal.
Spurs have probably been too used to their Plan A, and have faltered in Kane’s absence. His return will probably make things better for the London team, but it isn’t certain that he will be fit to start or even feature against the Gunners.
Luckily for Pochettino, his side’s defence is still the finest in the league so Arsenal will have to work hard to get the goals they have found easily in the recent past. However, Spurs will need to work harder to create chances and finish the once they do, to get three points against their biggest rivals.