Mikel Arteta admits he is wary of the ‘threat’ of Harry Kane, but says Arsenal will head into this weekend’s north London derby with ‘confidence’ following their recent upturn in form.
Arsenal face Tottenham at the Emirates on Sunday, with both sides in need of three points as north London rivalries are resumed.
The Gunners have bounced back from a disastrous start to the season to secure consecutive wins against Norwich and Burnley in recent weeks, and Arteta admits that those successes will provide Arsenal with confidence ahead of their showdown with Spurs.
“There is a certain level of confidence when you are on a winning run that is really positive to face a big match,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference. “But after, when the ball is rolling, it is a completely different context.
“We’re all just trying to compete to win the football match. It won’t be any different from them and both teams are going to try and win regardless because they have the necessity. We know what it means for us, this game.
“We are playing at home, we will have our people behind us and they will create an incredible climate that you have to be able to enjoy and make the most of it.”
Arteta insists his players were well aware of the history of the fixture and its importance to the fanbase, admitting there is ‘a little bit more at stake’ when Arsenal and Spurs face off.
“It is the most special game of the season at home, for sure,” he said. “It is a north London derby, and emotionally it is a different one to play and we know how much it means for our supporters as well.
“The team [know what it means] and I will make sure that they understand what it means: the history between the two clubs and where this rivalry comes from and what it means emotionally to all of our supporters.
“You have to play this game with a slightly different skin because there is a little bit more at stake.”
Key to securing a positive result will be Arsenal’s ability to contain Spurs striker Harry Kane, who is the all-time leading scorer in north London derby fixtures.
Despite the striker being goalless in the Premier League this season, the Gunners boss admitted that stopping Kane will be a priority for his players this weekend, as Arsenal look to nullify Spurs’ threat and secure both three points and bragging rights.
“We have to show them the threats and qualities and where they will hurt us and try to prevent that from happening. We know he is a big threat and a lot of things come from his contribution in attack.”
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Author: Harry Diamond