Premier League 2022/23: Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal - Tactical Analysis (2023)

It's been a long time since Arsenal moved into the North London derbyTottenham Hotspur's Terrain leads the pack. Remember April 2004 when Arsène Wenger's side won the Premier League title 2-2 at White Hart Lane.

But that is exactly what will be the argument this Sunday. The Gunners sit at the top of the table while the Spurs cling for their lives on the edge of a cliff.

Circumstances are different now than they were in April 2004. Spurs are a different beast than those led by David Pleat, but Londoners still have a toothless nature, like a toothless lion.

Tottenham have conceded two or more goals in seven of their last eight league games, which is a truly terrible feat for a team looking to fight for the title this season.

Antonio Conte, an Italian pragmatist glorified for his dogmatic defensive structures at Juventus, Italy, Chelsea and Internazionale, has so far failed to solve Spurs' defensive problems.

With the Gunners firing on all fronts despite the loss of Gabriel Jesus, Mikel Arteta's men are the last full-backs for Conte and Co. I'd like to face myself now.

ArsenalThey have the potential to kick their bitter rivals while they are prone as Spurs circle a dark room, searching for the light switch. However, as Bono once said, “You learn to see in the dark”. Even a toothless lion will attack if cornered.

This weekend's game is the perfect opportunity for Tottenham to get back on track, rack up a massive three points and fight their way back into a top-four battle, while also putting a colossal damper on their rivals Manchester City's title hopes to breathe down. Arsenal's neck.

Betactical analysisPlay shows a previewTacticsin the North London Derby ahead of Sunday's big game. Now that Arsenal are dominating the league, thisAnalysewill focus on three ways Conte can bring about a victory over Arteta's army.

formations and lineups

The formations will be fairly easy to predict for this duel. Since Conte's arrival at the club in November 2021, Spurs have almost always been armed in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The 3-5-2 was occasionally a solution for Conte when the Italian wanted to clog up the midfield a little more and have a man up front to put pressure on the opposition's defence.

Most of the time, however, Spurs are almost guaranteed to play in a 3-4-3 formation. This is often thought of as 3-4-2-1, with the wingers playing close to Harry Kane up front. At other times the wingers play a little further and when Tottenham are defending further down the pitch the form looks like a 5-4-1.

After some dismal recent performances, including a 2-0 home loss to midfielder Aston Villa, Conte is likely to remain with the same side that beat Crystal Palace 4-0 at Selhurst Park more than a year ago.

Oliver Skipp started as a double center with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and the two worked very well together, flanked by Ivan Perišić and Matt Doherty at full-back, with Clément Lenglet, Eric Dier and Cristian Romero at centre-back.

(Video) Tactical Analysis : Spurs 0-2 Arsenal | How Arteta Outwitted Conte |

Up front, Bryan Gil has been a regular in recent games and seems to be Dejan Kulusevski's preferred option for Conte at the moment. Gil could start in the top three alongside Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.

Like his bench counterpart, Arteta has rarely shown flexibility with line-up changes. To be fair to the Spaniard, the Gunners have been so brilliant this season that there has been no need to change the team's form.

ArsenalAlways play a 4-3-3 or a variation like 4-1-4-1 with the shorter full-backs on the pitch.

The 4-2-3-1 was also an option for the league leaders, but mostly without ball possession. Even if Granit Xhaka starts the double swing with Thomas Partey, the Swiss international will always push between the lines and create a 4-3-3 with Partey as the only cross in possession.

Arteta's side play similarly to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City as the wingers maintain width while the central midfielders play midfield. As such, Bukayo Saka is expected to get the nod again on the right with Gabriel Martinelli on the left.

With Jesús out through injury, Eddie Nketiah will start with a high while Martin Ødegaard rounds out the rest of the top five.

Kieran Tierney and Oleksandr Zinchenko met at left-back and no one knows who Arteta's choice will be in the derby, but they will be joined by Gabriel and William Saliba at the heart of defence, with Ben White on the starting line. above.

Two different formations and two very different styles of play, but with plenty of quality on the table, this game has the potential to ignite.

Be more aggressive on a low block

last season,Tottenham Hotspurgranted40Tore League38games, which equates to roughly a little over a goal per gamesixteenincluding under Conte's predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo.

From being taken over by the Premier League winners until the end of the season, Spurs suffered26She28Games, less than a goal per game. The team's defensive improvement on Conte's orders is striking.

This season, however, that solid defense was lost and fifth place suffered1.39Goals per game or25She18which is a worrying step backwards.

One of the reasons for Spurs' poor defensive record is that the team can be quite passive at times, especially when sitting on deeper defenses.Blockon the field.

In the 2022/23 season, Tottenham's passing allowed average defensive actions from11.15that's the 11th highest in the division. With PPDA, the higher the number, the less active the team ispressand she left.

In October's second leg, Spurs positioned themselves incredibly low in the field, as reflected in the team's average defensive line height. Most defensive actions and interceptions also took place in their own third of the field.

Conte knew Arsenal would dominate possession, as did the style Arteta implemented in his team from day one, so Tottenham were perfectly fine going down and forming a low 5-4-1 block, to keep the center compact.

(Video) TACTICAL ANALYSIS - Tottenham vs Arsenal | English Premier League

The more Arsenal took the ball, the deeper Spurs fell until the block was well inside their own penalty area, which was too risky for Conte. The Gunners constantly attempted to propel their opponents into these positions as they could create structured positional attacks to attempt to break the lockout.

One way Arsenal does this really well against these types of defensive blocks is by using wide triangles. Arteta orders his players to form open triangles, with one placed in the middle, one holding the width, and the other sitting at the back.

The purpose of this triangle is for one player to keep cross width to stretch opposing block horizontally and another to sit in midfield.fixationtwo of the opposing midfielders in deeper positions, while the other sits deep and serves as a back-pass option to recycle the ball if the block is impenetrable from that side.

One thing Arsenal did very well in the October game was finding the player in the deepest position who could take the ball, getting it off their feet quickly and trying to get it into the box.

When Ødegaard and Xhaka are in these zones, it is more dangerous for the opponents due to the duo's creative skills.

As can be seen from Odegaard's shot assist chart in all competitions this season, the former Real Madrid player creates plenty of chances on this type of counterattack. Three of his four assists came from right midfield.

However, the trio can be flexible about who is placed in a corner of the triangle. Typically, wingers occupy a wide position, central midfielders sit in midfield and defenders position themselves deeper, although these three can rotate and take turns on the pitch as long as the triangle is preserved.

Here, White held wide from the right, while Saka penetrated deep into central space. Meanwhile, Ødegaard acted as the lowest point of the triangle.

Saka and White had the Spurs defenders pinned at that end, meaning that when the Norwegian midfielder received the ball he had an extra second or two to get a pass to the post where the visitors were exposed.

This was a move Arsenal tried on numerous occasions against Tottenham and it worked very well for them. It even led to the first goal of the game.

Once again, the triangle between right-back, right-back and right midfield is evident, trapping the Spurs defenders deeper into this side.

Instead of trying to hit the post, White simply punched Partey, who was standing just outside the box screaming into space for a pass. The Ghanaian fired home with thunderous ferocity to open the scoring for the three-time Premier League champions.

(Video) Tactical Analysis: Tottenham 1-3 Arsenal | What went wrong for Conte? |

One thing Tottenham couldn't do was get out fast enough. This was the only time Conte's men were punished by Arsenal's wide triangles in the first half, but the warning signs had already surfaced on multiple occasions.

Spurs needed to come out of the deep faster than being caught and was only too happy to be passive at this stage before being punished properly.

Arsenal will play the same way again this Sunday in the north London derby, but Tottenham need to be ready this time and be a lot more proactive off ball possession, trying to reach the player before he crosses or shoots off the ball. penalty point. . Crate.

Stifling progress for Arsenal

In the previous section we discussed how Arsenal will try to break through Antonio Conte's stubborn 5-4-1 defensive block on Sunday.

The Gunners will create these ÜberCharges and try to trap their legendary rivals more and more in their own territory. However, there is a way for Tottenham to try not to fall too far onto the pitch.

Arsenal always want to break through the thirds of the pitch with the ball on the ground. When it comes to reaching the middle areas, Arteta's men mainly try to play through the middle areas, using the ball progression ability of the two defenders as well as Partey in the center role.

Partiesball courseThis season's map makes it clear. The former Atlético de Madrid midfielder moved the ball towards the center of the field where Xhaka and Ødegaard usually stand, allowing Arsenal to reach the final third with a clean advance.

The center forward also falls between the lines, offering a center pass option to break through the opponents midfield line. Jesus usually shines in this role, but Eddie Nketiah stands firm as he leads the line.

In Nketiah's touch map since returning to the Premier League after the FIFA World Cup, we can clearly see the striker's role, going deep to receive the ball in the lower areas of the pitch, meaning defenders and central Midfielders three pass opportunities between the two have lines to try to advance in the game.

It's the job of the Tottenham midfielders to ensure these overtaking lanes don't open up and, if they do, to stop them as quickly as possible.

Spurs managed that relatively well in the first half against Arsenal, but it became much more difficult after Emerson was sent off for a nasty foul in the second half.

Hojbjerg is an intelligent midfielder and tends to be very good at blocking passing paths as can be seen in the picture above.

When Arsenal start catching Ødegaard, Nketiah and Xhaka between the lines with ease on Sunday, they will be able to enjoy an already battered defense as they are free to pivot and attack. The midfield has to be very tight and work tirelessly to close those dangerous fast lanes as soon as they open.

Newcastle United opted for a slightly different style in their recent goalless draw against the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium. Eddie Howe's men went hand-in-hand at Partey when defending in midfield and always ensured one player was putting pressure on the Ghana international. Bruno Guimarães has mostly appropriated this role.

(Video) Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham | How Arteta Tore Spurs Apart |

As you can see in Partey's individual ball progression-pass chart for the game, he only completed four progression passes during the game and didn't have as much time on the ball as usual.

Perhaps Spurs will copy this tactic from Howes Magpies ahead of the derby, but it will involve Kane, Son or Gil moving freely without possession to protect Partey and ensure his time on the ball is limited.

Exploring the Flanks

As with almost all possession-oriented teams, Arsenal retaliate as soon as possession passes into the opponent's hands.

Usually there is a two-pole system for gunners' back pressure. After the ball has been delivered, the players deployed in the wide triangles first go hunting together to regain possession of the ball. If that breaks down, Partey or anyone else who can fill the midfield role will step forward to face the ball carrier head-on.

Here, wide triangle Rodrigo Bentancur countered to win back the ball for Arsenal. However, the Uruguayan played under pressure, forcing Partey to step up and be the last line of defense for the back line.

The rest of Arsenal's defense system is quite secure, giving the Gunners one of the best defensive records in the Premier League this season.

However, in football no system is airtight and back pressure poses a significant risk, especially when the initial waves of back pressure are broken.

The problem with Arsenal's residual defensive structure is that the full-backs are positioned so high on the pitch to participate in the team's counter-pressure that the flanks are left unprotected.

If the opponents manage to dodge the first wave of counter-pressure and get past Partey while the Ghanaian rushes to help, they can attack the wide areas with the running backs. Spurs have done very well at the back on occasion.

With players like Kane, Son, Gil or Kulusevski supported by full-backs Perisic and Doherty, Conte's men could do significant damage to Arsenal's defense in transition.

With Spurs likely to relax and defend their own penalty area while the visitors try to dominate possession, the UEFA Champions League will certainly look to exploit their opponents in this way.


There is a lot going on in this game for both sides. It's not the end of the world if either of them lose, but a loss would severely hamper Arsenal's title run, with Man City hot on their heels, while Spurs are further down with Liverpool, Fulham, Brighton and Brentford in the table would fall wings.

Conte is under a lot more pressure than his colleague. Losing to Arteta is a blip, losing to Conte is a pattern. The Italian hopes to turn the tide of his team by taking three points at home and buying more coaching time.

Premier League 2022/23: Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal - Tactical Analysis (16)

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