Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Arsene Wenger vows Arsenal home strength can sink Spurs

Arsene Wenger insists his Arsenal side will not enter Saturday's north London derby as underdogs.

Tottenham make the short journey to the Emirates Stadium sitting three places and four points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League, and having finished above their neighbours in the table last season.

That was the first time Wenger had slipped beneath Tottenham at the end of a league campaign since taking charge at Arsenal in 1996.

Arsenal welcome Mauricio Pochettino's side, having won all five of their home league games so far this term.

Spurs also have a poor recent record at the home of their greatest rivals, with their last win coming in 2010 under Harry Redknapp.

Many will fancy the visitors to maintain their title tilt with a rare victory but Wenger is adamant Arsenal remain favourites for the game.

"No, not at all," he said, when asked if he saw Arsenal as underdogs.

"I think Tottenham are a good side but we have the quality to win this game and that's what we want to show.

"The conclusion of people will be the comparison of the two performances on Saturday. We have a good opportunity to show we are the strongest, so let's do it.

"It's one of the fixtures that is very important for us and that we want to win, basically as well because in the table we have to make some ground up with the top teams.

"At home we have been very strong and our home strength will certainly be vital to decide where we finish at the end of the season."

Wenger refused to make any comparisons between himself and Pochettino, but did give the Argentinian a glowing review.

"I don't want to judge people," he said. "I think he's done an exceptional job and he's a good manager. After that, in our job it's the distances and the quality that makes the difference.

"He has all the ingredients to go a long way but overall it's very difficult to know and to predict what will happen in his career.

"He will certainly be a manager for a long time, but that's down to everybody's choice. How long do you want to go? How long will you have the health and the confidence of people? That goes very quickly now."

Wenger revealed he will be without Olivier Giroud for the game after the France striker came back injured from the international break.

That means Alexandre Lacazette is likely to start in attack having been left out of other big games against Liverpool and Manchester City so far this season.

Arsenal's record signing has only completed 90 minutes once since his summer arrival but Wenger says there is no lack of trust.

"I have a big choice to make every time, big decisions to make up front," he added.

"But he's played many games, Alexandre Lacazette. He didn't play away from home at City, I think that's the only game he didn't start (along with Liverpool). I trust him completely."

There could be better news over the fitness of both Shkodran Mustafi and Danny Welbeck as both face fitness tests to potentially be involved.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph