Mikel Arteta is aware of the impact a first victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could have on Arsenal’s season ahead of Sunday’s huge North London Derby.
Having beaten Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in October, Premier League leaders Arsenal are looking to claim a first league double against their local rivals since the 2013-14 campaign.
That season also represents the last time Arsenal won a North London Derby as the away team, with the Gunners losing on all three visits to Spurs’ new home since it opened in 2019.
With Arsenal looking to go 14 points clear of their rivals and maintain their advantage over Manchester City at the summit, Arteta is embracing the challenge ahead of them.
“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 at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“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.
“We don’t think about sending messages, we think about performing, playing well and earning the right to win the games.
“We know where we are. At Arsenal, we do not have any expectations other than winning games every three days, whoever we play against.”
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Spurs are looking to win four consecutive home league games against Arsenal for the first time in their history, with last May’s 3-0 thrashing of the Gunners proving crucial as they beat their neighbours to Champions League qualification.
Reflecting on that defeat, in which Arsenal capitulated after Rob Holding’s first-half dismissal, Arteta challenged the Gunners to showcase their improvement against their out-of-form hosts.
“There were a lot of things to learn and take from it,” Arteta said of last season’s trip to Spurs. “We are in a different place, but we have to show that by playing the way we want to play.
“Obviously, the way we have performed and the results that we’ve got, confidence-wise, have put us in a good position, but that’s something you have to show in every single match against every opponent.
“Especially every away game brings a big challenge and this is no different. We have to prove we are good enough to go there and play our way to win the match.”
Arteta was also asked about the club’s pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk – who appeared to hint at his desire to join Arsenal by posting a praying emoji on Instagram as reports suggested the Gunners had tabled another bid on Thursday.
“You know we cannot talk about any other players. There is interest in things we would like to do to improve the team because we are a bit short in certain areas,” Arteta said. “As a club, we are determined to improve the team in every window.”
Asked if he had taken notice of Mudryk’s social media activity, Arteta laughed: “I won’t tell you how good I am with a phone!”
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