Higginbotham fears for these two Arsenal players in North London derby

WH Lane

Arsenal head in to the North London derby under pressure.

Former player Danny Higginbotham fears Arsenal fullbacks Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin could find themselves in a spot of bother in the upcoming North London derby, he wrote in the Independent.

The Gunners head in to the clash with their rivals drained of confidence and currently trailing league leaders Leicester City by six points, having lost their last three games in succession in all competitions.

Upcoming opponents Tottenham Hotspur are three points ahead of Arsenal, and despite losing to West Ham United in midweek, are genuine contenders for the title and playing extremely well.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are a threat from all different angles and writing in his column for the Independent, Higginbotham feels Arsenal’s fullbacks could be exposed if they don’t look to counter their rivals’ threats.

“The big question then is whether Wenger has a plan to stop Spurs’ full-backs. He is often reluctant to change his style of play to suit the opponent. But if he does not have a plan then his team are in trouble,” Higginbotham explained.

“Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal both like to get forward. They will both know that they have to tuck in more, to defend against Spurs’ band of three behind Kane, whoever Pochettino plays there.”

“But this leaves the question of who comes back to defend against Rose and Walker. Arsenal will need the wide players in their own attacking band of three to come back and defend, or else Rose and Walker will be free every time to provide width and get the ball into the box. ”

Arsenal may be happy to concede possession to their opponents and look to hit them on the counter, yet in doing so they could give licence to the opposition's fullbacks to push right up and overlap.

Monreal and Bellerin are both extremely able players, but if they are forced to track inside, the job will be on the likes of Alexis Sanchez and potentially Joel Campbell to track back - hardly their strongest attributes.

The North London derby has all the hallmarks of a classic, and the game could well be won or lost on either a moment of magic or a real lapse in defensive concentration.

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