As the anticipation mounts ever higher in the build up to the North London Derby, former Spurs defender Chris Perry has spoken to premierleague.com about the Derby and his experiences in playing for the Spurs against Arsenal.
Perry said that the atmosphere of the derby was the ‘best he had ever played in’ and that it motivated the players to give their best performances. With Spurs under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, he believes that this fixture will be unlike any other game that the team will play this season; and a good result could give their entire campaign a boost.
From a Spurs point of view, you know there is so much on it. On the coach on the way to the game the Tottenham fans will be lining the streets and cheering you on, and you’ll feel it. It’s unlike any other game that the Spurs team will play in this season.
This is a massive game for the Spurs fans and, particularly at the Emirates, they give you all the support that you want. You feel good, you feel like you can go forward and perform in these games.
Spurs suffered a shock home defeat by West Bromwich Albion in their previous Barclays Premier League outing and Perry believes their trip to Arsenal is the required fillip after a disappointing result, especially as the pressure is off Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
There’s going to be an amazing atmosphere with all the pressure on Arsenal. They are the home team and they are going to be expected to win, whereas Spurs can go there and express themselves.
Pochettino’s players have taken seven points after five matches in a mixed start to the campaign, leaving them ninth in the Barclays Premier League table, while Arsenal are two points above them in fourth place.
According to Perry, Spurs’ hopes for the match will be influenced by the performance of playmaker Christian Eriksen, and he expects defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who is back from injury, to be charged with nullifying the Denmark international’s threat.
For Spurs, Christian Eriksen is the main man. If he performs, generally they perform. If he plays well they tend to score more goals and create more chances.
If they can get him on the ball, it’s going to be the battle between him and maybe Mathieu Flamini that might stand out. Arsenal’s best defensive midfield player is Flamini and I would play him.
Wenger, who takes charge of his 44t h North London Derby today, will no doubt be well aware of the threat posed by players like Eriksen and Lamela, and it will be interesting to watch how he chooses to counter them. For the time being, Arteta looks to be the first choice for the defensive midfield position, but we will only know for sure one hour before the game.