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North London derby loving Dele Alli looks set for perfectly timed Spurs return

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Dele Alli is back for Tottenham Hotspur.

Town criers should be announcing this news as loudly as they possibly can up and down the Tottenham High Road, such is its importance to Spurs’ chances of winning the upcoming North London derby.

Mauricio Pochettino has endured a difficult start to the season, with the club losing to Newcastle United and, really, stealing a point from Manchester City in a smash and grab raid that almost put the Hatton Garden robbers to shame.

Against Arsenal, Spurs will need all the help they can get. Versus Newcastle, it was clear there was an imagination barrier, an inability to play through their low block, and they were eventually reduced to just passing the ball sideways repeatedly before lobbing in a hopeful cross that was easily dealt with.

It must be said that Arsenal won’t play that way; they’ll attempt to get on the ball, move it properly, look to attack. And that’s where Alli comes in.

In the first three games of the campaign, something has been amiss with Harry Kane and it was never clearer than against the Magpies.

He had one shot on goal, per WhoScored, and dropped too deep all too regularly.

If he continues in such a vein against Arsenal, Alli can dart into the spaces that he vacates, occupying the Gunners’ defence.

The England midfielder has a strong record against the Gunners, having scored three goals and registered two assists against them in eight games, including a lavish chip at the Emirates in the League Cup last season.

Spurs won that game 2-0, but they have not won at the home of their rivals in the league since 2010.

If they are to break that hoodoo, they will need Alli and Kane to dovetail as effectively as they did in that cup game.

To revisit the goal is to see what each can bring; Kane dropped deep and curled a pass into Alli’s path, around 25 yards from goal. He brought it down and then chipped it over Petr Cech, before celebrating wildly in front of the away end.

Arsenal have a remarkably strong attack at this point and the main thing it comprises is pace: Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are all quick across the ground.

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But their defence is shaky; David Luiz was awful against Liverpool at Anfield and showed that he can be dragged out of position by clever movement and slick interplay.

Alli does exactly that and offers the opportunity for Spurs to actually let Kane roam, instead of attempting to implore him to stay in the box.

The two can link and, when Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura are potentially added to the equation, Spurs’ attack looks all the fiercer.

Christian Eriksen’s inclusion, of course, remains in doubt after he was benched against Newcastle.

But it is Alli’s inclusion that should grab the headlines.

He is the secret ingredient to transforming a Spurs forward line that looked all too static this past weekend, and he could be key to bringing the best out of Kane and finally breaking that lengthy Emirates hex.

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Article title: North London derby loving Dele Alli looks set for perfectly timed Spurs return

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