Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino both went for fairly narrow formations in yesterday’s north London derby, which contributed to the frantic nature of a pulsating match.
Arsenal’s initial 3-4-2-1 caused Tottenham’s narrow 4-4-2 diamond – which saw off Chelsea with ease last weekend – problems initially, but some tactical tweaks saw the visitors go into the interval 2-1 in front at the Emirates Stadium.
Emery doubled down on his central threat after the break, introducing Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette and going with a 3-4-1-2 system which pummelled Juan Foyth and Jan Vertonghen into submission; the latter eventually being sent off.
But as the hosts swarmed forward and turned 1-2 into 4-2, Pochettino’s side were simply unable to get out and that is largely down to the lack of width in the Argentine’s tactical approach.
Son Heung-min terrorised David Luiz in a central area at Wembley last week, but could not find space up against Arsenal’s three centre halves yesterday.
The South Korean needed to operate in a wide area to give the Gunners’ wing backs something to think about when they poured forward.
As it was, Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin were able to put the squeeze on as aggressively as they liked, leaving Spurs with no out ball and no threat in behind.
That’s why Emery’s side were able to turn the screw so easily in that second period.