Jose Mourinho said Tottenham’s only focus was to finish in the Champions league spots ahead of the North London derby on Sunday. Tottenham are currently 3 points off West Ham who occupy the 4th and final Champions league spot in the Premier league.
While, the match against Arsenal is a key one for both sets of Arsenal and Tottenham fans players often play down the importance of these derbies. Mourinho wants his team to do the same and play the match as any other.
A win for either side will be crucial for their momentum later in the season
Mourinho’s side are seven points above the Gunners going into the match at Emirates Stadium. They have finished above their rivals for the past four seasons.
“I look up, I don’t look down,” he said. “If Arsenal was seven points ahead of us, I would look to them. But because we have seven points more than them, I don’t look down.
“But at the same time, we look always to the next match. And if instead of Arsenal it was (Aston) Villa or Newcastle, the next matches we’re going to play, exactly the same feeling.”
He has won both of his north London derbies as Tottenham boss so far, both at home, but respects Mikel Arteta’s Gunners and what they are trying to achieve.
“In spite of the rivalry between us and Arsenal, I want to be respectful,” he said. “Arsenal is a big club with a big history — a little bit like us they’re trying to build a better future. I have total respect for them.”
Confirmed Arsenal XI: Leno, Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Smith Rowe, Lacazette
Subs: Ryan, Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Elneny, Ceballos, Willian, Pepe, Aubameyang.
Confirmed Tottenham XI : Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Bale, Lucas, Son; Kane.
Subs: Hart, Aurier, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Dele, Lamela, Vinicius.
Draws in the North London derby are a common occurrence, with 23 draws between the pair in Premier League history. For context, only Everton and Liverpool (24) have played out more draws during the PL era.
However, a Tottenham win feels likely with the trio of Kane, Bale and Son hitting the right strides for Tottenham. For Arsenal, Odegaard and Smith Rowe will have to play a key role in breaking an astute Tottenham defence if they are to avenge for the 2-0 defeat earlier in the season.
Score-line Predictions : Arsenal 1 – 3 Tottenham