Arsenal vs Tottenham: Defeat in derby could cast final shadow over Arsene Wenger’s careerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/english-premier-league-2017-18/arsenal-vs-tottenham-hotspur-defeat-in-derby-could-cast-final-shadow-over-arsene-wenger-career-4941685/

Arsenal vs Tottenham: Defeat in derby could cast final shadow over Arsene Wenger’s career

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal are four points below Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspur and trail Manchester City by 12 points.

Arsene Wenger is facing criticism over his team-selection.
The momentum in North London has shifted towards Tottenham this season.

“It’s important for us to start beating the big teams away. Not just Arsenal, but all of the top six.” Tottenham Hotspur star-striker Harry Kane wants his team to challenge for title this season. The English forward, in an interview to Sky Sports, said his squad will travel to Emirates this Saturday to try and win the game. “We need to go and play the way we play against them at home, and find a way to win,” Kane said.

As Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gear up to take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham at home this season, there appears to be a shadow of gloom spreading over the 67-year old manager’s reign. The momentum has clearly shifted in North London since last year when Spurs finished above Arsenal for the first time in Premiere League history. The Whites appear to be ahead of the Reds in every aspect.

A four-point lead in the Premier League table is just the beginning of the mountain that Wenger has to climb to match up with his Saturday’s rival.

In terms of squad strength, Spurs boast of Kane, who has scored 13 goals in 14 games so far in all competition. The 24-year old was sidelined due to an injury when his side suffered a defeat at the hands of Manchester United at Old Trafford last month, and must be raring to have a go at Arsenal’s defence. Moreover, Dele Alli, who scored a brace against Real Madrid in a Champions League fixture, is fit to return to squad, and midfielder Christian Eriksen, who scored a hat-trick earlier this week, is in hot form.

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On the other hand, Wenger’s squad is in shambles – to say the least. The manager is unsure whether Danny Welback, Olivier Giroud will be fit to play in the all-important fixture. The star players for the club, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are reportedly already planning a future without Arsenal, and have appeared lack-lustrous.

Wenger’s decision to play Sanchez in front and putting Alexande Lacazette on the bench against Manchester City earned him criticism after his side went down 3-1 in the game. Questions have also been asked on Wenger’s tendency to go with 3-man defence this season, which has not worked in his favour.

The French manager would want the fans to think there is no danger. In an interview, the Gunners manager said he is not afraid of the challenge. “We have no fear, we are focused on nullifying their strengths and expressing ours. Tottenham are a good side but we have the quality to win the game.”

But the fans, which have been plastering signs of “Wenger Out” and recording angry Youtube videos outside stadium do not appear to be too optimistic. The aura at Emirates has already been deflated as they see their neighbours making headlines at Champions League tournament while their home team produces average performances in Europa League.

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Pochettino’s team has remained unbeaten in the last six outings between the two. And considering the previous three meetings at Emirates ended in 1-1 stalemate, the fans will hope they can salvage a point out of it this year as well. For Wenger, who boasted his record at home has been tremendous this season, a loss could prove to be the final nail in the coffin.