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

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The