Arsene Wenger has warned Tottenham that his Arsenal stars will be determined to prove they are still number one in north London when the bitter rivals clash at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Tottenham stars Robbie Keane and Ledley King have both claimed that Harry Redknapp’s squad is stronger than Wenger’s young group.
For the first time in four years, Tottenham look capable of challenging Arsenal for a place in the Premier League top four.
Only goal difference separates third placed Arsenal from Tottenham in fourth but Wenger is convinced the Gunners will underline their supremacy over the full course of the campaign.
“We want to win and the fact it is a derby gives us a little bit extra special motivation for everybody to win,” Wenger said on Friday.
“But when the game starts it will be just down to the quality of the display no matter how much other psychological involvement there is in the game.
“I believe that we are in a strong position in every competition we play in and for us it’s a good opportunity.
“I have a strong belief in them and I believe we have the wanted strengths to win the championship.
“Don’t forget that we have a game in hand, so the table doesn’t reflect completely the reality and for us it’s a good opportunity to get into a stronger position in the league and that’s what we will try to achieve.”
Meanwhile, Wenger won’t let the latest speculation over Cesc Fabregas’s future distract him from the task of preparing for Tottenham.
Fabregas has been linked with a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid for the past two years and former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor poured fuel on the fire this week by claiming the Gunners captain could leave if his side fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The Spain midfielder began his career at Barca before leaving for Arsenal but Wenger is confident Fabregas will remain at the Emirates Stadium and blasted Adebayor for his claims.
“Frankly, I’m not really bothered about what he says. Why should I react to quotes that may not even be accurate?” Wenger said.
“What is important for me is that we play well against Tottenham. For the rest, we have to live with what people say but it is not really important.
“Nobody knows what’s happening next week so why should you speculate or worry about statements of that calibre? They are not anything realistic, it’s just talk.”
Wenger will be without Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky while Samir Nasri will start on the bench after making his return to action from a broken leg in midweek.
One player who Wenger believes will make an impression is Andrei Arshavin, who will be playing his first north London derby since signing for Arsenal in February.
“Arshavin can change any game, anywhere at any moment so I believe he will have a great game,” Wenger said.
“He is a player I love, not only because he is talented but because he is efficient. I am confident he will have a big impact on the game.”
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