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A colossal clash awaits us on Saturday as Arsenal travel to the Wembley Stadium to take on their deadliest rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The two clubs have a long history of rivalry and with the stakes higher than ever, both clubs will be hungry for 3 points. At present, Arsenal are 4 points behind 5th-placed Spurs and this victory will be all the more necessary for them to catch up to their North London rivals.
Pressure continues to intensify on Arsene Wenger as chants of ‘Wenger Out’ continue to grow stronger. After failing to secure a Champions League spot last season, the fans will turn livid if he fails to do so this season as well. With the added value from players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners will have to spark a late resurgence to fight for a top-four spot at the very least. While their attack seems a lot more strong now, should Wenger revert to using a three-man back line?
Last season, Antonio Conte popularised that formation in the Premier League and Wenger was one of the managers who took it up and achieved positive results. However, he has utilised a four-man backline as well on several occasions this term, thus bringing up the question of whether or not he should use the same against Tottenham.
Using a three-man back line has benefited Arsenal in the past and considering the fact that they often concede a lot of penalties, it would be surprising to see Wenger field anything but a three-man defence against a team like Spurs, who seem to have taken a newfound affinity towards, er, diving.
On a more serious note, Arsenal put in one of their most scintillating performances during the 2-0 win over Spurs at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season. In that game, Wenger deployed three players at the back but since then, he has preferred using a mainstream defence line with four men. However, given the fact that this is an away fixture with such so much at stake, Wenger should consider changing things up and go back to a 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1.
The inclusion of players like Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang has given Wenger the freedom to play with a four-man defence in most games. However, since they lack squad depth in terms of central defenders and the fact that they are without a strong defensive midfielder, Wenger should resort to utilising three men at the back in away games – and particularly for a game as crucial as the one against Spurs later in the day.