By Chris Harris

Tottenham have always been direct rivals to Arsenal, according to Arsène Wenger.

This weekend's local derby is something of a rarity for the Frenchman - he heads to White Hart Lane as manager of the bookies' underdogs. What's more, his team trail Spurs by two points in the Premier League having played a game more.

Wenger has never finished behind Tottenham in his 15 years at the Arsenal helm and, as a result, observers are classing Sunday's meeting as the most important of the Frenchman's long tenure. He agrees, but for different reasons.

"They might be right [that it's the most important derby] because it's the next one and that's the only one that matters to me," said Wenger. "All what you have done in life is not so important, what you do in front of you, that is what is exciting.

"To me, Tottenham have always been direct rivals, since I am here, every year we played them. They always have good teams. They had Ginola, Sheringham… they always had great players.

"We have been direct rivals before. On the last day [of the season] when they lost at West Ham in 2006. That's five years ago.

"It [the rivalry] is enjoyable but anyway, you will always have people you compete with when you want to be in the top four."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 1 Oct 2011