Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wenger calls for cool heads as Arsenal face Spurs test



Wenger calls for cool heads as Arsenal face Spurs test

Wenger calls for cool heads as Arsenal face Spurs test

Arsene Wenger has warned his Arsenal stars to keep their cool when they face bitter rivals Tottenham on Saturday as the heated north London derby returns to Wembley for the first time in 25 years.

Languishing in sixth place in the Premier League, Wenger’s side are however just four points behind fifth placed Tottenham.

With their hopes of a top four place and qualification for the Champions Leahue hanging in the balance, the Gunners can ill afford a damaging defeat at the hands of their hated neighbours, while Tottenham are also a point adrift of the top four and desperate to avoid defeat.

Given the high stakes amid the fight for local bragging rights, the crowd of over 80,000 are certain to make it a frenzied occasion.

Wenger knows players can lose their composure if they get swept up by the derby atmosphere.

And, with new boys Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan making their maiden north London derby appearances and Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli in the midst of a diving storm, the Arsenal manager cautioned his players to stay focused.

“There is always huge passion before the game and the emotion at stake that becomes a bit more agitated,” he said.

“It is always a game that is charged emotionally.

“For us, it is an opportunity to come back closer to the Champions League places, which is a priority.”

Although Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November, they haven’t won an away league game against their rivals since 2014.

Fortunately, for Wenger’s men, with Tottenham playing their home games at Wembley this season while White Hart Lane is rebuilt, it will be the first north London derby at the national stadium since 1993.

Special day

Arsenal won 1-0 on that occasion in the FA Cup semifinals, avenging a 3-1 loss to Tottenham at the same stage of that competition two years earlier.

Wembley is a happy hunting ground for Arsenal’s current generation as well.

They have won their last nine games at the national stadium, including a penalty shootout victory over Chelsea in this season’s Community Shield.

Asked if he preferred the game to be at Wembley, Wenger said: “Yes, because we have a positive history there.

“Of course Wembley is a pitch that is quality, a stadium with a big crowd and it is always a special day in your mind, so overall, yes.

“At Wembley you play special games where you are under pressure to perform and we responded well to it every time.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is a doubt having been forced off with a calf injury in the win over Everton last week.

Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight league games, and boss Mauricio Pochettino has not given up hope of pipping Manchester United to second place.

Defeating Arsenal would help that ambition, while carrying the added bonus of derailing Arsenal.

“I believe we can finish second. Of course we’re going to fight for that to happen,” Pochettino said.

“The gap is not massive but it will be tough. It’s key on Saturday to win the game, to be in the race for the top four.”

Pochettino believes former Paris Saint Germain winger Lucas Moura, who arrived last month, is ready to make his debut, possibly as a substitute.

“I think he will be ready to be in contention for Saturday,” Pochettino said.

“He is starting to feel the legs. We need to assess him, but after the last session I hope we can put him in contention.”

English Premier League fixtures

Saturday night

Tottenham v Arsenal 7:30pm
Everton v Crystal Palace 10pm
Stoke v Brighton 10pm
Swansea v Burnley 10pm
West Ham v Watford 10pm
Man City v Leicester 12:30pm

Sunday night

Huddersfield v B’mouth 7pm
Newcastle v Man Utd 9:15pm
Southampton v Liverpool 11:30pm

Monday night

Chelsea v West Brom 3am

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR