Wenger's Blueprint For The North London Classico
Arsene Wenger's squad selection and tactics are up for debate as armchair pundits from around the globe prognosticate on the Professor's approach to the North London Derby.
If Wenger is wise, he will follow the blueprint for victory drafted against Manchester City; allowing Spurs to possess in their own half, letting them play innocuous lateral passes across their back four, initiating engagement only when they approach the halfway line.
This method for away games verse higher-caliber opponents must continue to be nurtured and employed.
Arsenal have proven that they are quickly morphing into one of the world's most potent counter-attacking teams, and if they are patient, willing to concede the possession stat (or at least break even), and communicate their defensive shifts properly, they can strike in transition and extol severe punishment on the Cockerels.
Federico Fazio, as it so happens, is a player the Gunners should target and exploit.
Running with pace at the lanky Argentine defender is a recipe for success and will get him into hot water in and around the penalty area.
Look for Arsenal's attackers to make the one-time rumored transfer target wish he never swapped Seville for Spurs.
Fans of Dial Square should be concerned, however, that Wenger won't view Tottenham as team that he needs to play cautiously.
After all, Wenger has thoroughly dominated a host of different managers on his way to enjoying significant success in the NLD.
He may be looking to turn on the style, as his team is brimming with confidence and self-belief, after winning their third game in a row in the Barclay's Premier League.
The demolition of Aston Villa at the Emirates may induce the desire to recreate another trademark Arsenal performance: short-passing, lots of the ball, Santi Cazorla painting the pitch with masterclass ability, and Mesut Ozil justifying the manager's faith, transfer fee, and selection.
Wenger should beware of over-playing his hand.
Now is not the time to halt the momentum, the Gunners must secure another three-points, especially considering the moves made by Ronald Koeman and Southampton during the winter transfer window.
Arsenal should muzzle an outright cavalier approach and play on the break in this one.
Spurs are not to be underestimated, and sitting just two points off the Gunners, victory truly does elevate beyond just bragging rights.
The table is shaping up to be extremely tight in the race for the Champions League spots and Saturday's North London Classico is a genuine six-pointer...