Arsenal vs Spurs - Two issues will decide the tie

The day has arrived. Early in the season we travel to the Emirates to tackle to enemy. Form goes out the window frequently in these games as passion takes over.

Arsenal hold some cards being at home, being used to each other and used to the occasion. We have a team with probably five players who have not experienced it yet, yes they will have played in big games, yes they are internationals, but it all counts for nothing today.

How each team controls themselves, how each team handles the atmosphere will determine the result. Ledley King was interviewed recently and he said you can get lost in the atmosphere and that is when you can stop playing as a team and end up playing as eleven individuals. Do that and you'll lose, a team will beat eleven individuals so whichever team handles the pressure best holds an advantage.

Let's not kid ourselves, this isn't going to be easy, we are away, our team have not gelled yet, we haven't scored from open play and haven't created chances for our new striker. Today is the day to change that.

There are two issues, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend who I both expect to start. At White Hart Lane last year Arsenal started well, they kept cutting us open through the middle and poor finishing cost them, they didn't take their chances and we scored a couple to punish them and record a 2-1 win.

Today defensively Danny Rose is our weak link. he is very susceptible to the ball played in behind him or passed in triangles round him and he goes in for rash challenges that give away free kicks. Walcott could murder him and Rose could give away a penalty. He will certainly give away free kicks and we know how weak we are at set pieces. His positional play will be tested, can Danny raise his game, we'll see.

The other area of possible concern is the right wing. Assuming Townsend starts his first North London derby with Lennon injured, his I'm not going to pass I want to shoot approach could go two ways. Gareth Bale had an accuracy of 44% from outside the box, the best in the Premier League, whilst Townsend had an accuracy of 18% last season.

If he chooses to have a shoot, shoot, shoot day, he is cutting out a supply line for Soldado, in which case he has to score with one of his shots. Les Ferdinand told us on Thursday that he is working on his right foot to add crosses (along the floor) for Soldado to his game, which he'll need to go outside his man to implement.

He is not yet on the same wavelength as Walker who is playing the ball in behind the full-back for him but Townsend is not reading the pass because his mind is focused on cutting inside all the time. Of course how he reacts to the occasion is an unknown, he has only ever had one Premier League start for us, quite an atmosphere to have your second, will he freeze, will he try and do too much, will he thrive on it, time will tell.

How these two issues pan out will determine the result for me, if Arsenal exploit Rose we could be in trouble, if Townsend has his passing boots on, we could win.

My XI today:
Walker Dawson Vertonghen Rose
Townsend Paulinho Dembele Chadli

Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Kaboul, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Lamela, Defoe

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