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Graeme Le Saux on Arsenal v Tottenham: Eriksen the key man for Pochettino

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Betfair Ambassador Graeme Le Saux gives his views on the North London Derby and expects Christian Eriksen to continue his fine run of form...

"Based on his form during the international break he could run riot on Saturday and were it not for Manchester City surpassing all expectations this season, I think the Dane could've been the difference maker between Spurs finishing top four and winning the title."

Arsenal v Tottenham
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports Main Event

This has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser with the style of both teams naturally lending itself to an open game and hopefully lots of goals. I remember when I played against Arsenal they still operated with the finesse that they strive to execute today but they had more bite, particularly so in midfield. You could be as aggressive as you wanted but they'd just absorb it and match you man-for-man across the pitch.

Spurs on the other hand, you felt you could strike fear into them, but things have changed dramatically since then and the teams have almost reversed roles. When I say that the Tottenham side of today have more bite, it's not about being reckless it's about standing up to your opponent across the pitch and it feels at times that sometimes the Gunners can go missing in that respect.

The four players that this game revolves around for me - and can't afford to go missing - are Eriksen, Alli, Sanchez and Ozil. Whenever I've watched Pochettino's side over the last few seasons, Eriksen has been their key man, when the team is firing on all cylinders it's because they're playing through him.

Based on his form during the international break he could run riot on Saturday and were it not for Manchester City surpassing all expectations this season, I think the Dane could've been the difference maker between Spurs finishing top four and winning the title. Dele Alli is the perfect foil alongside him, he plays with real flair and can produce match-winning moments out of nothing.

Opinion has often been divided when it comes to Mesut Ozil but on his day there aren't many better at controlling a game and in Alexis Sanchez you know you have a player that is always going to make something happen. This set of players don't necessarily have to contribute with goals on Saturday but I think whichever one is operating at the peak of their powers, will clinch victory for their respective side.

It's also great to see Harry Kane back in training and hopefully he's fresh enough to play his part at the Emirates. Equally I'm assuming that Lacazette will start but it's been a bit of a puzzle as to how Arsene Wenger has utilised the summer signing. His mobility and positional sense to work around defenders will be so important against a team like Spurs and if they operate with wing back's he should get some joy being able to run in-behind.

However, for that to happen he'll need to be backed up by the spine of the Arsenal team and, for me, you have to earn the right to play nice football by perfecting your defensive duties; any sort of a lapse and they'll be punished by Pochettino's men.

Recommended Bet
Tottenham to beat Arsenal 2-1 @ 10/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)

Graeme's Weekend Wager

Man Utd, Chelsea and Everton all to win @ 7/1 (OddsBoost from 6/1)

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