Focus: How Spurs can exploit Arsenal's weakened right flank

Tottenham Hotspur can learn a lesson from the way Bayern Munich dominated down the Gunners' left-hand side in midweek, explains Alex Keble...

Given the similarity of their playing styles, the North London derby - between the Premier League’s two most in-form teams - is likely to be a claustrophobic match built on intricate and narrow attacking patterns.

Arsenal’s thrashing in midweek is unlikely to dent their confidence long term, but Bayern’s victory did highlight the primary weak spot in Arsene Wenger’s injury-hit team.

In response to the introduction of Joel Campbell on the right wing (and Bayern’s frustrated attempts to work the ball into the box at the Emirates) Pep Guardiola instructed his players to hit the wings and take on the wide players as frequently as possible. Poor Campbell looked lost.

Stats Zone Bayern

Bayern attacking third passes (left) and Thiago’s passes (right) vs Arsenal.

Both he and Mathieu Debuchy failed to press at the right moments, were beaten frequently when one-on-one, and in Campbell’s case increasingly caught too high up the pitch. The result was David Alaba and Kingsley Coman dominating, and appearing as if they had the freedom of that left wing. Hector Bellerin will miss out again this weekend, leaving the same uncomfortable and out-of-practice pair on this flank.

Coman Stats Zone

Coman’s passes received and Campbell’s defensive dashboard (Bayern vs Arsenal)

The majority of Tottenham’s attacks (38%) come down this side, and this pattern has increased since Mauricio Pochettino moved Christian Eriksen into a lurking left wing role.  However, it is also because Harry Kane frequently makes runs into this channel and, in a noticeable shift from last campaign, Spurs are attempting to find these runs with early long passes.

Stats Zone Kane

Kane passes received vs Bournemouth (left) and Villa (right)

It is this speed in the counter that could unsettle Arsenal, and catch out Campbell as he jogs back from an Arsenal attack. Francis Coquelin will likely face a difficult task in cutting out these passes and backing up Debuchy; six of the eight goals Spurs scored against Villa and Bournemouth came via a left-side attack.

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