Tottenham Hotspur V Arsenal at White Hart Lane : Match Preview

By
29 April 2017

Mauricio Pochettino calls on fans to drive Tottenham to memorable derby win

Mauricio Pochettino has called on Tottenham fans to make White Hart Lane's last local derby one to remember as they look to end Arsenal's 22-year dominance in north London.

Spurs sit 14 points ahead of the Gunners in the table and a win on Sunday will ensure they finish above their rivals for the first time since 1995.

Beating Arsenal to achieve the feat would make it all the more satisfying for Tottenham, who will also be hosting Arsene Wenger's men for the final time at their current home.

The club confirmed on Friday they will play all their home fixtures at Wembley next season while their new 61,000-seater stadium is completed in time for 2018-19.

Spurs are looking for their 15th home victory on the bounce this weekend and Pochettino wants the supporters to help condemn Arsenal to defeat in their last outing at White Hart Lane.

"We feel every time that we play, it is the last game - our fans are so excited, and our players too," Pochettino said.

"I think that feeling, that energy, that our fans translate to the team, is amazing and it is key, to push you and help you to give your best.

"They can play a part in our last two games, like they are playing [a part] in this season. They were fantastic and they helped a lot the team.

"I think all that we are achieving there at White Hart Lane, is a big percentage [because] of our fans too."

Tottenham have come close to finishing above Arsenal in recent years, not least last season when they needed to beat already-relegated Newcastle on the final day but were instead thrashed 5-1.

For now, though, the priority remains catching Chelsea, who sit four points clear at the top of the table but face a tricky trip to Everton in the earlier kick-off on Sunday.

"We have our own philosophy, our own titles, our own way and it is important now to be focused," Pochettino said.

"I understand for the fans it means a lot, all that has happened with Arsenal, but my responsibility and for the players and the club is to try to win and win every game.

"Our opponents are all the teams in the Premier League and to try to be the best is our aim.

"I can understand because after 20 years Tottenham always was below Arsenal and I can understand that means a lot to be above, but personally for me I want to be above Arsenal but I want to win the title more."

Mousa Dembele (ankle) faces a race against time to be fit for the game, while Danny Rose is unlikely to feature despite returning to training after three months out with a knee problem.

Erik Lamela (hip) and Harry Winks (ankle) are both unavailable but goalkeeper Michel Vorm has recovered from a knee injury and is available again.

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Wenger has reiterated that Spurs face a "very difficult" transition when they move into their new stadium.

The Gunners underwent the same process when they relocated from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, with a period of financial restraint and readjustment following.

Since the move, Arsenal have not been able to recapture the Premier League title they last lifted in 2004 and Wenger also had to sell a plethora of talent to help balance the books.

Now, ahead of his 50th - and potentially last - north London derby, he has again warned his fierce rivals it can take a long time to feel at home in a new ground.

Asked how difficult the new stadium could prove for Tottenham, Wenger replied: "Very difficult, much more you can imagine.

"First of all, you face financial restrictions, which we did. Overall, it might be less in future because you have more income.

"Secondly because you don't feel at home like you were before. And you need to recreate a kind of history to feel comfortable and to feel like you play at home. I would say it can take two years (to feel at home)."

Asked about his best memory at White Hart Lane, Wenger added: "Maybe when we won the title there, but it was good and bad that season because they equalised in the last minute and we nearly had a fight in the dressing room between Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann, because Jens gave the penalty (away)."

Spurs will be looking to beat their rivals to keep their title ambitions alive, but Wenger insists wrecking the championship hopes of Pochettino and his players is not on his agenda.

"At the moment, I'm not in that kind of mode of thinking, what is important for us is to win our games," he added.

"Basically, if it's not Tottenham it's somebody else. We know we are in the position where we have to win our next game.

"We focus on our own achievements, to win our own games, I don't live, I'm not in football because I want to stop other teams to be successful. I'm in football because I want to be successful ourselves."

Wenger could be without Laurent Koscielny (knee), while fellow defender Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) is out for another two weeks. David Ospina (back), Lucas Perez (thigh) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles) are all absent.


Tottenham Hotspur Match Reports


Trending on the boards