Arteta has message for Arsenal defenders over stopping ‘special’ Spurs trio

Date published: Friday 12th March 2021 11:44 - Jonny Whitfield

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admits that stopping Tottenham’s deadly attackers in Sunday’s north London derby will prove “very difficult”.

Spurs go to the Emirates Stadium having beaten their arch-rivals 2-0 in December.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min – perhaps predictably – combined for the goals in that game.

However, Gareth Bale has now added a third dimension to a fierce front line. The Welshman has scored two goals and assisted two others in a resurgent five-match Premier League spell.

Indeed, the 31-year-old struggled for game time but looks likely to start on Sunday after his substitute appearance in Thursday’s Europa League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

Arteta told reporters of stopping the trio: “It’s very difficult because the level of quality, precision, understanding and chemistry that they have between them makes them probably one of the most special [attacks] in Europe.

“And they don’t need much. They are able to create their own chances, they are able to link as a team.

“So it is really difficult to do, but we will prepare the game well to try to stop them obviously.”

Kane, Son and Bale have hit 34 Premier League goals between them in the first 27 games of the current campaign.

What’s more, only Bayern Munich have scored more across Europe’s top five leagues than Spurs so far this season.

They will be licking their lips at the prospect of coming up against an Arsenal defence which has kept just one clean sheet in their last 12 matches.

The Gunners have also gifted goals to the opposition in their last two outings. That included against Olympiacos on Thursday night in their own Europa League tie, where they rallied late on to win 3-1.

Arteta wants more Arsenal clean sheets

Asked if keeping more clean sheets was the biggest area for his side to improve on, Arteta replied: “Well, yes because the amount of chances that we are conceding has been really low.

“But the amount of chances that we have given to the opponent has had a big impact in the goals that we have conceded.

“So it depends on us a big part, which is a really positive thing, but we know that it is a part that we want to eradicate to be more consistent with results.

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“You have to find a way to win and there are certain things that are some basics that you have to do every game – and sometimes there are some things that you have to control because of the opponent, because of the circumstances, because of the time that is left.

“And that’s a process we are in and something we have to improve very much to fight with the top teams.”

Spurs, meanwhile, have only conceded once in their past five games – in the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.

READ MORE: Arteta makes defiant defence of Arsenal principles

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