Subscribe Search

Search form

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


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states