Stats: Why this unheralded Gunner must start versus Spurs - 90 touches / game

Arsene Wenger

Pass-picking Spaniard has been effective in recent Tottenham Hotspur clashes, so can the Arsenal skipper lead his Guns to success again?

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta may have been a weak link in Arsene Wenger's midfield this season, but he historically has good success in matches against local rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

In five Premier League appearances against Spurs in the last three years, Arteta receives an average of 91 touches on a per game basis, returns an 89% passing accuracy (32% of which are in the forward direction) and has been responsible for six key (potentially goal-scoring) passes and one assist.

  PositionTeamVsTouches / gamePass accuracyFwd passKey passAssistAppsMins Played
Mikel Arteta MF Arsenal Tottenham 91.6 89% 32% 6 1 5 437
Santiago Cazorla MF Arsenal Tottenham 74.25 84% 32% 6 1 4 360
Aaron Ramsey MF Arsenal Tottenham 70 85% 24% 4 0 4 289
Jack Wilshere MF Arsenal Tottenham 52.33 80% 31% 4 0 3 204
Tomas Rosicky MF Arsenal Tottenham 44.25 82% 30% 5 0 4 268
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain MF Arsenal Tottenham 31 78% 26% 2 2 3 97

Arteta is on the ball far more often than other midfielders like Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while also having the highest precision rate in the pass and joint-highest forward pass ratio.

A 3-0 triumph over Aston Villa has seen Arsenal rise into fourth place, but a 2-0 reverse to Borussia Dortmund, a 2-2 draw with Manchester City and a 2-2 draw with Everton all demonstrated defensive deficiencies.

The problem, though, may not be down to a lack of quality personnel in defence, but rather a lightweight midfield and Arteta is regarded to be one of the main culprits in allowing opponents an easy route into a counter-attack opportunity and/or one-on-one situations.

The balance in midfield, namely - the holding role, or protecting the defence - must be right if Wenger is to mastermind another triumph over Tottenham.

Spurs have only won once in their last 21 trips to Arsenal.

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