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Derby Day Preview: Tottenham vs Arsenal

The North London derby this weekend is one the most highly anticipated in years, with Spurs desperate to bolster their hopes of securing top 4 status, and Arsenal looking to get their title chase back on track.

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The North London derby this weekend is one the most highly anticipated in years, with Spurs desperate to bolster their hopes of securing top 4 status, and Arsenal looking to get their title chase back on track.

Spurs may have been comprehensively beaten by Chelsea last weekend, but one player who neither let himself nor his teammates down was teenage sensation Nabil Bentaleb. Since his induction to the first team, the Frenchman has been one of Spurs’ most impressive performers and he continued this rich vein of form against Chelsea, completing an impressive 25 passes in the opposition half.

Kyle Walker was another player who showed his excellent offensive skillset against Mourinho’s men, as he made a total of 31 attacking contributions (based on passes in the opposition half, crosses, dribbles and shots on target). Walker’s strength has always been his offensive play, and this is particularly clear when one notes that he only made one defensive contribution (based on blocks, clearances, interceptions and tackles won) against Chelsea.

Zeki Fryers left Manchester United last year in a bid to secure more first team football, with the defender desperate to fulfill his undoubted potential. He still hasn’t figured as prominently as he would have liked at Spurs, but when he has played, he has shown a glimpse of his excellent tackling ability. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that he has won a staggering 84% of his tackles this term.

For such a big man, the dribbling skills of Moussa Dembele may come as something of a shock. Despite not boasting the tricks of a Ribery or a Robben, the Belgian has an amazing ability to glide past defenders – something he has utilized to great effect this term, completing 66 dribbles. 

A promising, but ultimately unsuccessful defeat to Bayern Munich, means that Arsenal’s focus for the remainder of the season lies on both the league and that FA Cup.

Mesut Ozil may have had his critics at times this season, but ultimately Arsenal are likely to miss his guile and creativity in the forthcoming weeks. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights the worth of the German as it shows that he has completed an astounding 1025 passes in the opposition half this term – more than any other Arsenal player.

Deciding Jack Wilshere’s best position is a dilemma that manager Arsene Wenger must answer in the upcoming years, and there is still ambiguity around whether he is a natural number 10, or number 8. One statistic that may suggest Wilshere is better deployed slightly deeper, is his excellent number of completed dribbles. So far this season the Englishman has completed 44 dribbles – more than any other Arsenal player.

Serge Gnabry has forced his way into the first team this year, with the German quickly emerging as one of the brightest prospects at the Emirates. The young German has shown his natural eye for a pass this term, completing an impressive 153 passes in the opposition half in the opportunities that have been handed to him. 

If Bacary Sagna is to leave Arsenal this Summer, it will be interesting to see if Wenger looks to Carl Jenkinson to step up to the mark. The full back has impressed in patches at the Emirates and it could finally be time for him to cement a first team spot as his own. One aspect of his game which may tilt the balance in his favour, is that he clearly has a great eye for a tackle – something demonstrated through the fact that he has won 92% of his challenges this term.

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