Preview of the North London Derby a Tottenham Perspective

Tottenham (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Tottenham (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /
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LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: (l-r) Sergio Reguilon, Toby Alderweireld, Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg and Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur celebrate (Photo by Paul Childs – Pool/Getty Images) /

Players to Watch Tottenham v Arsenal

Regardless of records or position in the table, there is no shortage of star power between Tottenham and Arsenal in their respective XIs. Nowhere will that star power meet more frequently than in the middle of the pitch as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Martin Ødegaard will likely be battling for the same part of the park.

The Højbjerg  vs Ødegaard match-up is one to watch

Who gets the better of the match-up between the Dane and Norwegian will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the match. If Ødegaard can find space away from Højbjerg and operate between the Tottenham lines it could be trouble for Spurs. Tottenham has been facing a string of 4-4-2 line-ups and whatever Arsenal puts out there on Sunday, likely a 4-2-3-1 – it will not be a 4-4-2. Stopping Ødegaard from being the center of the Arsenal wheel is an important job for Pierre Højbjerg.

Sergio Reguilón and Bukayo Saka should be a fun battle

Tottenham fans have really grown to love Sergio Reguilón this season. The young Spanish left-back is solid defensively and just shines in the attack. His connection with Heung-Min Son on the left side of the pitch has been terrific. It is no coincidence that Tottenham’s losing streak coincided with Sergio Reguilón being out injured.

As much as Sergio Reguilón has impacted the Tottenham squad this season, Bukayo Saka has probably influenced Arsenal even more. Saka has arguably been Arsenal’s best player this season. With six goals and five assists in all competitions, the 19-year-old has been very productive. Further, with seven of the 11 goal contributions coming since the calendar turned 2021, the young Englishman has certainly found his stride.

How well Reguilón can keep Saka under wraps and manage to do his work going forward will have a major impact on the outcome of the match.

How does Arsenal handle Harry Kane?

The biggest question for this match and frankly every match Tottenham are in moving forward this season is how the opposition handles Harry Kane. Kane has continued to drop deep in the attack, yet scored two poacher’s goals against GNK Dinamo Zagreb midweek. Kane had an assist to Son in the Palace win last weekend from his own half, yet was leading the line in the press.

The fact that Kane is doing the offensive work of both a #9 and #10, while still doing the defensive work of a striker is just incredible. Do you play a midfielder on Kane and hope they run with him all the way into the box as he pushes forward? Do you stick a center-half on him and leave yourself more exposed in the back? I’d cover him man-to-man all over the pitch with my best, most annoying defender but that is just me.

We will see what Arsenal does and how they do or do not handle Harry Kane Sunday. Ultimately, it is how well Kane is defended, more than anything else that will determine the outcome of the match.