Why Pochettino should start Lamela against Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur face a huge game against Arsenal tomorrow.

Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela looks a better selection choice for the North London derby than Andros Townsend, who will be rivalling him for a place in the side.

Lamela and Townsend have been in competition for a spot on the right-wing all season, but Mauricio Pochettino may favour the Argentine on Saturday. 

With the match against Arsenal all set to be a blood and thunder encounter, Lamela's greater defensive abilities make him an appealing choice. 

  Tackles per gameInterceptions per gameDefensive duels won per gameClearances per gameBlocks per gameAppearancesMins Played
Erik Lamela 2 1.15 6 0.35 0.05 20 1430
Andros Townsend 1 0.44 2.11 0.11 0 9 382

Lamela has been better than Townsend at tackling, intercepting and blocking this season and, although that is not the most important part of their role in the team, it could be crucial against Arsenal. 

Lamela and Townsend are both chiefly employed to be their side's match-winner, with their direct approach intended to pose a threat to defences, but there are other vital considerations that need to be considered against top-level opposition.

Arsenal have the ability to carve apart teams if given too much space, but Lamela has proven capable of protecting his back four with his displays so far this season.

The fact that he has shown so much defensively is a sign that he is adapting to playing under Mauricio Pochettino well.

Lamela looked a lightweight figure during his first campaign in England, but he is used to the physicality of the league now and is showing a new dimension of his game.

It is a skill which may go unheralded, but it makes him the more obvious selection choice and it may be decisive in helping him claim a place in Tottenham's starting line-up tomorrow. 

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