Per Mertesacker says nothing compares to the “special atmosphere" of a north London derby.

The German defender is set to make his eighth appearance against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday since joining Arsenal in 2011.

The Gunners are on a five-match winning streak which includes four clean sheets, but Mertesacker says the derby will pose a completely different challenge.

We need to be really focused to keep the players and the crowd quiet, then afterwards let’s play our game and try to win again

Per Mertesacker

“It’s a special atmosphere in both grounds, a special atmosphere from the supporters’ side, so we have to realise that,” the vice-captain told Arsenal Player.

“It comes very quickly into your mind that it’s a special game for everyone at this club, so you better get on with it quickly otherwise it will hurt you. We did well especially last season - we won all our games - so let’s focus on not giving them any chance.

“We know from recent years that defensive unity is vital especially against our north London rivals, so we have to be really cautious on the defensive front.

“We need to be really focused, especially in the first 15 minutes, to keep the players and the crowd quiet, then afterwards let’s play our game and try to do it again.

“We did very well last season, as we scored very early and then defended well until the end, so it’s going to be the target for this year. We have good confidence at the moment so let’s show that again.”

Per Mertesacker scores against Tottenham
Per Mertesacker scores against Tottenham

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Max Jones 5 Feb 2015