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

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and