English Premiership

Pochettino relishing London derby

2014-09-26 07:49
Mauricio Pochettino (AFP)

London - Mauricio Pochettino has set his sights on turning Tottenham into north London's pre-eminent force as he aims to knock Arsenal off their perch at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Pochettino's club have won just once at the home of their bitter rivals since May 1993, a 3-2 success in November 2010 when Harry Redknapp was in charge at White Hart Lane.

The 42-year-old Argentine will take charge of his first game against the Gunners since being appointed as head coach at White Hart Lane, but he is well aware how much the derby means to Tottenham supporters.

Although Tottenham have won just twice at Arsenal in the Premier League era, Pochettino is targeting a victory this weekend to kickstart his bid to ensure his team finish above their neighbours from along the Seven Sisters Road for the first time in 19 years.

The former Argentina defender, who left Southampton to succeed Tim Sherwood in May, said: "We are ambitious. We arrived three months ago and we need to make our way but we are focused on the game and know the history.

"It is also important to write the history, starting now. I know it is a very important derby. It is very important for us and our supporters.

"You need to be aggressive, you need to be focused and you need to show all that you have inside.

"I played in a lot of derbies when I was a player - Rosario Central v Newell's Old Boys, Espanyol v Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain v Marseille - and now I am excited to go to the Emirates to play against Arsenal."

- Significant changes -

Both sides were in League Cup action in midweek, with Arsenal losing 2-1 at home to Southampton on Tuesday and Tottenham coming from behind to beat Nottingham Forest, the leaders of the Championship, 3-1 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.

Pochettino, whose side have taken only one point from their last three league games, reported no new injuries but is likely to make significant changes, including recalling former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor up front.

The Arsenal starting line-up is also set for a transformation and the Gunners hope French midfielder Mathieu Flamini will be passed fit in time, having missed the last three games.

Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Mathieu Debuchy are long-term absentees.

The match will also be a new experience for Arsenal's marquee signing Alexis Sanchez, who arrived from Barcelona in the close-season.

Chile winger Sanchez is determined to make it a day to remember, according to Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"Alexis and Jack (Wilshere) played 90 minutes the other day and they're usually on second-day recovery," he said on Thursday. "But today Alexis really wanted to train and people had to tell him to take it easy.

"That just sums up how much everyone wants to be around the squad and training, and I think he knew we had a massive game coming up this weekend and, as a new boy, it's good that he does know that.

"Obviously everyone else that has been here and been involved in a north London derby knows how big it is, so that just proves the intensity goes up in training and everyone just wants to be around and pushing for a start."

Arsenal will kick off in fourth place having taken nine points from their opening five games.

Tottenham are ninth but would overtake their rivals with a victory.


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