With the North London Derby just around the corner, the Arsenal players are speaking out about their excitement regarding the clash. The Derby is one of the oldest and fiercest rivals in football, and as such the team is fired up and raring to go; hardly any other fixture could evoke such a response from the squad.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, one of the brightest young stars of Arsenal, says his new Arsenal team-mates already understand how important the north London derby is – especially Alexis Sanchez. The Gunners welcomed five new recruits over the summer, and at least three of them, Sanchez, Chambers and Welbeck, look set to feature tomorrow.
Alexis, who has played in the El Clasico for Barcelona, already has vast experience in high pressure derbies and according to the Ox he is relishing the opportunity to be involved in yet another one.
Alexis and Jack played 90 minutes the other day and they’re usually on second-day recovery. 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’s 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.
The Ox also spoke about another Arsenal youngster, Carl Jenkinson. The defender is on loan at West Ham United, but as a lifelong Gunners fan he is in constant touch with the Arsenal squad.
He’s Arsenal’s No 1 fan and he’s always asking me what the boys are doing. Jenko always loves playing against Spurs.
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He was saying to me the other day, ‘I don’t usually get too nervous playing for Arsenal but when it came to Spurs I was so nervous’, and that’s because he knew how much it meant to the club, the supporters and himself.
Needless to say, any Arsenal player would love to get picked for the game against the Spurs. The emotions riding on this game are immense, and in front of a jam packed and noisy Emirates, doing well in the Derby will cement your place in Arsenal history. The Ox also said how a victory against the Spurs feels better than against any other side:
When I was injured and watching it, it was nerve-wracking, but when you’re in the heat and on the pitch you don’t really have a chance to think about it. But then, come the final whistle, the three points does taste that little bit sweeter when it’s winning against Spurs.
Tomorrow promises to be a highly exciting day of football. With the North London Derby and the Merseyside Derby both falling on the same day, no one can complain about a boring start to the weekend!