Tottenham can open up a seven-point gap on fierce rivals Arsenal in the first north London derby of the season. And the interest on the game goes beyond North London as fans of Arsenal in Nigeria and across other country is on the high concerning this game. It promises to be all fireworks.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side finished above Arsenal in the league last season for the first time since Wenger took over in 1996, and Tottenham are unbeaten in six north London derbies in the Premier League since the Argentine was appointed as manager in 2014.
Despite Pochettino’s derby record and Spurs’ superior position in the table, Arsene Wenger has insisted Arsenal remain the best team in north London.
“Tottenham are a good side but we have the quality to win this game. We have no fear; we are focused on nullifying their strong points and expressing our strong points,” Wenger told The Telegraph earlier this week.
“People always take one situation and the judgement is definite, permanent and forever. But life is movement. It’s down to us to change the opinions of people with our performances.”
With all the pressure on Arsenal, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino chose to heap praise on Arsene Wenger.
“What he is doing at Arsenal and as a manager, I would like to be like him one day,” Pochettino said. “Twenty years at Tottenham.” “In football history he is one of the great managers, the same level as (Sir Alex) Ferguson,” Pochettino said.
“Everyone who talks about him needs to show respect. For me he will always be a special manager. To stay 20 years in a club and stay always at the top is not easy.
“To stay in a club for five years is because you are a good manager, if you stay 10 years it is because you must be very good. But to stay more than 20 years is because you are special.”
Danny Welbeck and Shkodran Mustafi face late fitness tests ahead of today’s match but Olivier Giroud has been ruled out of the game due to a knee injury sustained on international duty with France.
Alexandre Lacazette could be in line for a start in his first ever north London derby.
Wenger left Arsenal’s £52m summer signing on the bench in their previous Premier League game, a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.
Tottenham are likely to be boosted by the return of Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Dele Alli, who were all ruled out of England’s friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
The England trio had their fitness assessed on Friday and are all expected to feature at the Emirates on Saturday.
The return of Kane will be of particular importance, as the striker has scored six goals in six north London derbies in the Premier League. He has scored in five consecutive league games against Arsenal.