Mikel Arteta has challenged his Arsenal players to continue breaking new ground by winning away at fierce rivals Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.
Arsenal are five points clear of Manchester City at the Premier League summit after a superb first half to the season that has seen them drop only seven points in 17 matches.
The Gunners are now seeking a first league double against Tottenham since 2013-14, which was also the last season they won away at their closest neighbours.
Arteta is using that as added incentive ahead of this weekend’s showdown at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Arsenal have lost on all three visits since it opened in 2019.
“We haven’t won there, so that’s the challenge we have ahead of us, we have to beat them at their place,” the Spaniard said.
“We’ve had a few in the last few years – places where we didn’t win in 15 or 20 years. We have a great challenge and opportunity on Sunday to get that one down.
“It’s one of the biggest games of the season for us. We know how much it means right now for us in the table, and how much it means for our fans.”
Arsenal were held 0-0 by Newcastle United last time out in the league, halting a five-game winning run, but they are still 11 points clear of an inconsistent Spurs side down in fifth.
Tottenham will be looking to close that gap in what is expected to be a feisty affair, one which could be particularly special for Spurs striker Harry Kane.
The England international is one goal shy of equalling Jimmy Greaves’ club record 266-goal haul for Tottenham, with 14 of his strikes coming in north London derbies.
“You know very well the importance of Kane for Tottenham,” Spurs boss Antonio Conte said. “We are talking about a world-class striker and for sure he will beat every record.
“I want to always underline also the other aspect, the human aspect about Harry, because we are not only talking about a world-class striker but also a really good man.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tottenham – Harry Kane
You would not bet against Kane scoring the two goals required to not only match but overtake Greaves as Tottenham’s all-time record goalscorer this weekend. The prolific striker is the highest-scoring player in this fixture and has scored in all but one of his eight Premier League home games against Arsenal (nine goals in total).
Arsenal – Bukayo Saka
Saka knows exactly what this fixture means to supporters, given he emerged through Arsenal’s academy and has been part of the club for approaching 15 years. He could well hold the key to ending Arsenal’s losing run at Spurs as no player has been directly involved in more London derby goals since the start of last season than Saka’s 11.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League home games against Arsenal (W6 D2). They have won their past three at home against them but have never won four in a row in their league history.
– Following their 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium in October, Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double over Tottenham since the 2013-14 season, which was also their last league victory away against Spurs.
– Tottenham have only failed to score in one of their past 17 Premier League games against Arsenal, finding the net in each of their last 10 since a 2-0 loss in November 2017.
– Spurs have won 13 Premier League penalties against Arsenal, scoring 12 of them – only Liverpool against Tottenham themselves have won (14) and scored (13) more against an opponent in the competition. Kane has scored seven of these penalties, with no player scoring more from the spot against a single side in the competition’s history.
– Tottenham scored first for the first time in eight Premier League matches in their 4-0 win against Crystal Palace last time out. They have won 16 of their last 18 Premier League games when opening the scoring (D2) since a 3-2 loss against Southampton last February.