Tottenham Hotspur prepare themselves to compete in the first North London derby of the season in the marquee clash of the weekend. Mauricio Pochettino’s team have hit the right chords after suffering some hiccups in the beginning of the season.
Their historic win against Real Madrid at Wembley came at the right time and now the side face the challenge of overcoming their fierce North London rivals. The Lilywhites are eight points behind leaders Manchester City and they need to be clinical right from the start to dominate the proceedings against Arsenal.
A host of Tottenham stars missed the international friendly matches for their respective teams. Hugo Lloris sat out after suffering a minor knock on his hip against Real Madrid. Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks too sat out of England’s matches against Japan and Brazil.
However, the major reason for their absence from the international matches was fatigue and they should be fit to take on Arsenal on Saturday. Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama remain the long-term absentees, as Michel Vorm too would hope to get a place on the bench.
Hugo Lloris should be back for this match as Pochettino would want his captain to lead the defence in such an important clash. Paulo Gazzaniga could be called up too in case both Lloris and Vorm fail to recover on time.
With Toby Alderweireld ruled out, expect Eric Dier to start in the back three alongside Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez. The Belgian’s absence could hurt Spurs as they have had a cohesive unit at the back. But then again, Dier is still a pretty good replacement which says a lot about the Spurs squad.
Kieran Trippier has raised the bar since Kyle Walker left the club as he has shown repeatedly that he is capable enough to fill in the right wingback position. His defensive solidity, combined with precise passing means that he is probably one of the best players in that position in the entire league.
Ben Davies should occupy the left wingback slot though Danny Rose featured regularly for England in the international break. Davies has been phenomenal this season and is at his best when he is given the freedom to make marching attacking moves forward.
Harry Winks will be given the responsibility of doing something he does best. His ability to keep things simple by cutting down spaces, making fine tackles and then intricately passing the ball to the other box is often underrated. Moussa Dembele had a brief appearance game against Manchester United after coming on and he would want to improve on that performance against Arsenal. He is always a threat going forward and is an important part of the midfield.
Tottenham’s attacking trio would be in good shape and form after the two weeks’ international break. Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick to help Denmark qualify for the World Cup and there can be no better boost of confidence than that.
Meanwhile, Dele Alli and Harry Kane got a well-deserved break from football which would have given their body some rest. They would be raring to go in this game and there can be few better occasions than the North London derby to announce that you are back to the thick of things.