Arteta: “Huge clubs, London derby, massive game"

Mikel Poch

Chelsea travel to Emirates Stadium hoping to respond to their 1-0 loss to Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals.

Mikel Arteta has been impressed by their recent upturn in form - Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in the Premier League since early February - and anticipates a tough test in our next London derby.

The two managers played together for Paris Saint-Germain between 2001 and 2002 and there remains a feeling of mutual respect.

“I have huge admiration for Mauricio because I’ve known him since 23 years ago and I really wish him all the best,” Mikel said in his pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon.

“He’s an incredible manager, he’s a huge leader and he will inspire the club to get what they want to get, that’s for sure.

“They have made huge improvements. I think they deserve to be in a much higher position in the league, when you look at what they’ve done and what they’ve produced in games – they’ve reached a final, they’ve reached a semi-final, they could have been through. I think what Mauricio is doing is really impressive, so I’m sure that he’s going to get them there.”

But does Mikel enjoy coming up against his former teammate?

“Enjoy? I have to play against him, he has to play against me! It’s two huge clubs, a London derby, a massive game for us and we have prepared in the best possible way.”

Click here to read every word of Mikel’s pre-Chelsea press conference.

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