High-flying Arsenal have a great opportunity to end their long-running winless streak at rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium when the sides meet this weekend, manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday.
Arsenal’s last successful Premier League trip to Spurs came in 2014, but the league-leaders will have reason to believe that the run could be snapped on Sunday, as they come into the match 11 points clear of their rivals with 44 points after 17 games.
“I just love it. One of the biggest games of the season. We know what it means,” Arteta told reporters ahead of the north London derby.
“It’s an emotional fixture, very passionate. Incredible feeling when on the pitch. You can feel the tension, the atmosphere around it.
“We have, in the last few years, won at places we’ve not won in years. We have a great opportunity on Sunday to get that one.”
However, Arteta stressed that victory was far from a foregone conclusion, adding that it was not clear what version of Tottenham would turn up for the match on Sunday.
“They approach games differently. Sometimes aggressive from the beginning,” Arteta said.
“Sometimes they allow you to make the game. They have a lot of tools to cause problems. We will prepare in the best possible way and then it will be left to players to do what they have to do.”
Despite being in excellent form, Arsenal have had to deal with disciplinary issues of late and were charged by the Football Association for failing to control their players in a league draw with Newcastle United as well as an FA Cup win over Oxford United.
Arteta declined to comment on how he would discuss the issue with his players, before adding: “Anything we can do to improve, we always have conversations with our players and with our staff to see what we can do better and if we have to improve our behaviour.”
The Spanish manager also provided an update on injured Gabriel Jesus, saying the forward was making progress in his recovery from a surgery on a knee problem but still had a long road ahead.
“I would like to see him back as soon as possible but I don’t think that will happen,” Arteta said.