Martin Keown has compared Tottenham duo Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur to a pair of notorious east London gangsters.
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The Arsenal legend shared his thoughts on Spurs ahead of Saturday’s crucial north London derby as the league leaders host their unbeaten fierce rivals.
Hojbjerg has started and played 90 minutes across all of Spurs’ Premier League games this season, with Antonio Conte’s side winning five and drawing two.
Fellow midfielder Bentancur, who registered a goal and assist against Leicester City last week, has started six of those seven games and only missed the draw with West Ham through a head injury, with Tottenham now third in the league.
Keown feels the Spurs duo were ‘like the Kray twins’ – a pair of East End gangsters known for their organised crime in London from the late 1950s until 1967.
Quizzed about the importance of aggression in the north London derby and if Arsenal players were ‘too nice’, Keown said: ‘You could say that the two midfield players for Tottenham are like the Kray twins.
‘The way they get around the pitch, their tackles, if you look at the [Bentancur] goal they scored against Leicester when they stole the ball.
‘I think Hojbjerg is massively underrated. The manager believes that he needs those enforcers in that area.
‘You could say that Arsenal are more artistic, more creative. But you need to be tough as well. I think that comes from their defenders.
‘I think William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes are hard men, they’re building a reputation.’
Both Arsenal and Tottenham have enjoyed strong starts to the season but Keown believes that Conte’s side have the edge heading into the north London derby.
‘I think Arsenal are just behind Spurs,’ he added. ‘That’s motivation [for them].
‘The front three for Tottenham… I mean, if Richarlison is in the Brazil team but can’t get in the Spurs team, that shows how good he is.
‘There’s four players to pick from. It’s the strongest Tottenham squad I have seen for years.
‘I think they will be kicking themselves if they don’t win a trophy of some sort this season.
‘I don’t think they can win the Premier League. It’s not completely out of their hands but [Manchester City’s] Erling Haaland would have to dry up in front of goal and I don’t see that happening.’
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