Arsenal have the chance to go top of the Premier League tomorrow at the Emirates Stadium against London rivals Spurs.
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[picappgallerysingle id=”10056756″]Arsenal have the best away record in the Premier League, but have been defeated by some teams they would not normally expect to lose to at the Emirates.
Both West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle have won there in recent times, and few would argue that either team didn’t deserve all three points. They both outplayed – and beat – Arsenal in very different ways.
West Brom, it has to be said, benefited from a poor Arsenal showing, but they played a marvellous attacking game with former Gunners winger Jerome Thomas particularly impressive. They were 0-3 ahead at one stage, before Samir Nasri scored two late goals.
Newcastle United boss Chris Hughton’s gameplan was very different.
The Magpies manager had clearly been paying attention when Inter Milan faced Barcelona at Camp Nou last season. Jose Mourinho instructed his team to play very deep, allowing hardly any space between the lines for through balls.
Like Arsenal, much of Barcelona’s play comes through the centre. Internazionale countered that by playing a very narrow formation indeed. However, Barca also have a surging presence at full back, and so Dani Alves’ threat from the right was countered by Christian Chivu’s surprise deployment in midfield.
Newcastle won by playing a similarly narrow formation, with far less threat from the Gunners’ full backs. Cheik Tiote followed Cesc Fabregas wherever he went, and the Arsenal captain was unable to impose himself on the game.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp isn’t a fan of detailed analysis of the opposition – in August he wrote an article for the Sun with the headline “Tactics Don’t Win Matches”.
Earlier this week, Rafael van der Vaart told the Sun, “There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There’s a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn’t write anything on it.
“It’s not that we do nothing – but it’s close to that. For instance, last weekend Gareth Bale scored a header against Blackburn from my corner.”But we didn’t train one minute on it, it was pure luck. Good kicking, good heading, nothing more.
“There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There’s a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn’t write anything on it.
“It’s not that we do nothing – but it’s close to that. For instance, last weekend Gareth Bale scored a header against Blackburn from my corner.
“But we didn’t train one minute on it, it was pure luck. Good kicking, good heading, nothing more.”
This insight into the White Hart Lane dressing room can give Arsenal hope. If the injury ravaged Tottenham side go to Arsenal and try to play their own game, they will be lucky if they come away with anything more than a point.
As long as the real Arsenal shows up, that is.
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