Premier League Preview: Spurs vs Arsenal

North London preview: Can Arsenal emerge victorious in N17 on Sunday

Premier League Preview: Spurs vs Arsenal

Arsenal make the short trip up the Seven Sisters Road to N17 on Sunday for the North London Derby. CREDIT: OFFSIDE

Mikel Arteta knows that nothing less than a win at the home of Arsenal's bitter rivals will be enough to maintain his club's title challenge this weekend.

With Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City coasting past Brighton 4-0 on the south coast on Thursday to move to within a single point of the Gunners with a game in hand, Arteta understands that if his side is to lift the Premier League title come May, they must seal a vital victory at the home of arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon.

Arsenal are desperate to end their 20-year drought for a league title, and have a full squad available, with even long-term absentee Jurrien Timber in contention for the eagerly-awaited clash - with Arteta acutely aware of the significance of the occasion.  

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, ahead of the North London derby, a relaxed looking Arteta said: “We are fully focused because of what’s at stake.

"We really want to get the job done. 

“We know that it’s a very young team with a really bright future and still a lot of room for improvement and we will try to keep developing it.

“We’ve [challenged for the title] two years in a row, but we’re not satisfied with that. We want to win it, and we’re going to do everything that we can to win it. If we do win it, we’ll try again to win it, and if we don’t, for sure, we’ll try again.”

Arsenal's resounding 5-0 midweek thrashing of Chelsea was their 24th win of the campaign - their joint most after 34 games of a top-flight season. While Bukayo Saka could become the first English player to score home and away for Arsenal against Spurs in a league fixture since Ian Wright in 1993-94.

Arteta added: “[The players] need to enjoy the moment, and try to navigate this in a natural way. They are super competitive at the moment, everything we’re doing in the training sessions is to compete, compete and compete.

“That’s a really good sign, because we know what we’re going to have to do if we want to win it. We have to raise the bar every day in training to try to match that, so that when we play our games, we’re ready.”

However, Tottenham have lost just two of their last 15 top-flight home fixtures against Arsenal - even if they have won just one of the past six league meetings.

The fixture is the fourth highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history - with Spurs pleased that forward Richarlison is set to make a first appearance in nearly a month, after returning to training following a knee injury. Pedro Porro is also available. Although Destiny Udogie will miss the rest of the campaign after surgery on a thigh injury, with Oliver Skipp also missing. 

Arsenal boss Arteta is under no illusions just how difficult the trip along the other end of the Seven Sisters Road can be.

He added: “We all know how difficult it is to win games in this league. We had a big one in the last London derby against Chelsea and now we have another big one.

"I’m sure if we’re going to [win the league], we’re going to have to beat Spurs as well.”

A Martin Odegaard strike and a Hugo Lloris own goal sealed a 2-0 success last term for Arsenal - who last won consecutive away league games against Spurs between 1987 and 1988 - but have never kept back-to-back clean sheets at the home of their rivals in the club's history.

Arteta added: “We have to look at ourselves and try to perform in the best possible way to win our matches and I can’t wait to see what happens. 

“I think this league is tremendously demanding and there can be still a lot of turns."


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