Club legend Robert Pires visited The Armoury store on Thursday to sign copies of the new ‘Arsenal Greatest Premier League Games’ DVD. We caught up with him to get his take on the derby...
Robert, it's the north London derby against Tottenham on Saturday. Did you really look forward to these games when you were at Arsenal?
Yes, very much so, simply because it's the derby and it's the big one. It's always a tough game with a cracking atmosphere. But above all it's a match you can't afford to lose, plain and simple. Over the years a great rivalry has developed between the two clubs and that's why when you play at home it's a must-win for the fans.
What are your favourite memories from these games?
I've got quite a few! From a personal point of view, I've been lucky enough to score quite a few goals against Tottenham, either in the league or in the FA Cup. I always enjoyed playing against them as I knew that the games would be really difficult as the Tottenham players were always really up to beat us. But that's why I always enjoyed playing against Spurs!
You scored eight goals in 12 games against Tottenham. Why do you think you had such a good record against them?
I don't know, it's a good question! As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed playing against them, especially at Highbury where there was always a really good atmosphere and I had a great bond with the fans. But you get certain teams who you always do well against.
How much of a buzz did it give you to win the title at Tottenham in 2004?
Not just for me, but for the players, for Arsène Wenger and especially for the fans. It was something very special, it may never happen again [that we] clinch the league against Tottenham, our biggest rivals. If you were to ask the Arsenal fans that question, I'm sure that they would say it's one of their greatest moments too.
How confident are you that Arsenal will win against Tottenham on Saturday?
It's always hard in derby games, but you have to fight right until the end. The players know that it will be tough so you need good team spirit and a high level of motivation, which is always vital. If that's there, anyone can be beaten.