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Pochettino: Mousa Dembele "has a chance" to play against Arsenal

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A healthy Moose would be huge for Spurs heading into the Derby.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur may receive a big boost to its midfield ahead of Saturday's North London Derby match against Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino indicated that midfielder Mousa Dembele could be in line for a return to the starting lineup against the Gunners.

"He has a chance," he told the Evening Standard. "We will assess him tomorrow after the last training session."

Spurs have been without Dembele since he was subbed off with a groin injury at halftime of the FA Cup loss to Crystal Palace. Anyone who doubts the importance of Moose to Tottenham should look no farther than Spurs' last match against West Ham. With no disrespect intended whatsoever towards Ryan Mason and Eric Dier, the Hammers dominated midfield through physical play and pressure, something that Dembele massively helps to mitigate. His strength on the ball, ability to create space for his teammates, and counterpressing ability will be essential against a likely Arsenal midfield of Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin.

If Moose isn't able to go, however, it's tempting to move Christian Eriksen back to the pivot alongside Eric Dier, like what we saw against Swansea, and move Dele Alli in the attacking band along with Son Heung-Min and Erik Lamela. Eriksen may not have the strength on the ball that Moose has, but his passing range and ability is far more dynamic, which may just as effectively pick the lock of Arsenal's defense.