Former Arsenal Invincible’s advice to Tottenham

White Hart Lane 5

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has criticised the size of the White Hart Lane pitch.

Martin Keown believes that Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino should adopt a similar approach to the Arsenal side which ruled at Highbury.

Argentine coach Pochettino has complained over the past week of the size of the White Hart Lane pitch affecting his side’s ability to perform and get results.

Spurs have been poor at home so far this season, winning two of five games and suffering disappointing defeats to Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion.

The White Hart Lane pitch is 100m x 67m, the third smallest in the Premier League after Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers, but size didn’t handicap their North London rivals Arsenal at Highbury.

The Gunners made great use of their former cramped stomping ground, and it was at Highbury where Arsene Wenger’s side created history by going 49 Premier League games unbeaten.

Keown reveals the reason behind his former team’s great success and questions why Spurs with their creative talent can’t do the same at the Lane.

“The Highbury pitch was about as big as the surface at White Hart Lane but some of the football under Arsene Wenger was the most fluid you will ever see,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “The trick was to make it feel cramped for the opposition but huge for us. It encouraged our style of play and helped us smother our opponents.

“Our attitude was: ‘We can cope in this space. Can you?’ On a small pitch you must be comfortable in possession and move the ball quickly. You want your match- winners in possession in the final third and we did that by playing two-touch football to get Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry on the ball.

“Pochettino will know all this and he has men who can operate at speed in tight spaces. Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have been among Spurs’ better players this season and the manager might do well to adopt a similar style of moving the ball quickly to those three.”

Spurs face Aston Villa on Sunday at Villa Park, a ground where they haven’t lost since 2008, winning two of the previous three games there 4-0.

The Villans go into the game on the back of five straight Premier League defeats and Pochettino will be hopeful his side can bounce back with an important three points.

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