Tottenham: Spurs midfield better than Arsenal's says pundit; Croatian linked; Sissoko on difficult starts
Spurs produced a very positive performance to again a 1-1 draw at Arsenal last week, and BBC Sport pundit Jermaine Jenas believes the game showed Tottenham have better midfield options. Mauricio Pochettino opted for a powerful midfield duo of Victor Wanyama and Moussa Dembele with Christian Eriksen in a freer role in behind a front two of Harry Kane and Heung Min Son. Tottenham controlled possession well in the early stages, and Dembele was impressive throughout; driving through Arsenal’s midfield to win the second-half penalty that won Spurs a point. Pochettino’s side are still without a win in seven matches and have only scored one goal from open play, but their display at the Emirates was a positive one. Jenas said:
“Arsenal may have been in better form of late, but we learned on Sunday that their central midfield is nowhere near as good as Tottenham’s.
“Francis Coquelin had a decent game, but Victor Wanyama, Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen, playing in a slightly deeper role, were dominant.
“When you look at the two major midfield signings the sides made in the summer, Wanyama looks a far better purchase than Granit Xhaka.”
That is certainly a bold claim by Jenas given the depth of options Arsenal have in this area: he fails to mention Mohamed Elneny, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey would did not start the game, evermind the on-loan Jack Wilshere. Nevertheless, Wanyama in particular has impressed in the holding role this season at White Hart Lane, displacing Eric Dier. A few eyebrows were raised when Spurs signed the Kenyan; he did not appear an obvious upgrade on existing options. However, the former Southampton man has been excellent and has saved his best performances for the biggest occasions, starring against Arsenal and Manchester City.
Elsewhere, another summer signing has been talking about a more difficult to start to life in north London. Moussa Sissoko has been out of Premier League action in recent weeks following a three game ban for throwing an elbow at Bournemouth’s Harry Arter. The France international was roundly criticised for is display in Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley, and Sissoko has blamed a series of mishaps for his slow start at his new club:
“It’s true that there has been a lot of mishaps; my late signing, my lack of preparation for the season, my blow to the head against Middlesbrough, and this suspension.
“When I arrived, I felt that my team-mates were aware of the amount of my transfer. I was not just any player, but I ignore all of this.
“I was not at the top when I signed, but that’s normal. They all worked well this summer while I had a mini-preparation.”
Finally, Spurs are set to battle West Ham for Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, according to a result in the Daily Star. The 30-year-old could be set to move on from the Old Lady, but it would be an odd decision for Spurs to move for him given the money they spent on the much younger Vincent Janssen. The Dutchman has struggled to make the desired impression so far in his Spurs career, but Pochettino is likely to show faith a stick with him. Son has also flourished through the middle and Harry Kane is now back from injury.
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