North London derby lowdown: Five things we learned from Spurs v Inter Milan ahead of Arsenal clash
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Arsenal’s rivals Spurs hosted Inter Milan at Wembley in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. Ahead of the eagerly-awaited North London derby on Sunday read on for the lowdown from Layth Yousif in the first of a series of articles.
The Lowdown: Five things we learned about Spurs
1) Harry Kane is world class
Whether he’s picking up the ball from deep or driving at a backpedalling defence in the final third the Spurs striker is a huge threat. He can play with his back to goal or link well with colleagues. His winner against PSV earlier in the campaign was his 150th goal for the club in only his 228th match. The Arsenal backline will need to be at their sharpest to nullify his potent threat.
2) Ben Davies is pivotal to prompting Spurs attacks
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The young left back has an excellent technique and always offers an outlet for keeper Hugo Lloris even in tight situations. His instinct to push on down the left flank caused no end of problems for Inter’s normally assured Danilo D’Ambrosio and Matteo Politano. If Arsenal can cut off the supply from Lloris with their increasingly cohesive high press from their attackers while denying space to the xx year-old Emery’s side could render redundant a powerful tenet of Mauricio Pochettino’s attacking armoury. Also possesses a good cross and has formed an excellent relationship with left sided centre half Jan Vertonghen down the inside left channel. Has a good engine allied with athleticism which means he’ll be happy to power up and down the left flank for the full 90 minutes at the Emirates on Sunday
3) Harry Winks effectiveness in tight situations needs to be curtailed
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Santi Cazorla’s ability to receive and pass the ball in tight situations was sorely missed during his never-ending injury saga which ultimately ended his career for the Gunners. Winks is a similar conduit for Spurs. His position ostensibly is a defensive midfield shield alert to drop deep to receive the ball and orchestrate Spurs attacks. Yet his vision and excellent touch means he is far from a water carrier.
4) Dele Alli has suffered a dip in performance levels but is still a danger
A young Spurs attacker lauded for his attacking displays before losing his way. But that’s enough about Andros Townsend. Alli’s flick with his back to goal to release Christian Eriksen in a crowded box was finesse of the highest order and something a vigilant Gunners backline will have to marshal carefully. His confidence levels will have been boosted by that assist no end ahead of Sunday. So will the hopes of many Spurs fans in the disappointing crowd of 57,132 at Wembley on Wednesday.
5) Christian Eriksen’s left foot is special
The 26-year-old Dane came off the bench to keep alive Spurs faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League round of 16 with a clinically taken goal. Showing calmness under pressure he expertly fired the ball past Inter’s Samir Handanovic with ten minutes remaining. During his 28 minutes on the pitch after replacing a desperately ineffective Erik Lamela he nearly grabbed an assist through an expertly flighted free-kick which Vertonghen narrowly headed wide from close range. Arsenal will have to be on their toes from dead-ball situations with the former Swansea City player on the pitch.
Players out injured:
Kieran Trippier (groin), Sanchez (hamstring), Mousa Dembele (ankle) and Victor Wanyama (knee) all remain out.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29 for his in-depth coverage ahead of the North London derby on Sunday