He may have experienced derbies in Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester during his time as a player and coach, but Mikel Arteta has revealed why he thinks the north London derby is extra special.
Having participated in the battles between us and Tottenham on either side of the touchline, the Spaniard believes that the history of the rivalry and his bond with the club means that, for him, it sits apart from other clashes between city rivals across the UK.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, when asked about what makes this derby game unique, Mikel said: "Many things. I think you have to feel attached and a belonging to the club.
"When you have that feeling, and then you understand the history of the derbies, how both teams were historically created, and what has happened over the years, then that makes it very special.
"I think it’s a very special city, it’s a really special country, very passionate fans and it’s a great atmosphere to play in."
Thanks to our impressive start to the campaign, this is the first NLD since November 2007 where one of the two sides are top of the league.
Mikel believes that factor will only add to the desire of the supporters to turn north London red or white come Saturday afternoon, and earn some extra bragging rights in the process.
"I just think it’s all about emotion and willingness to get to that moment and have enjoyment," he added. "It’s the nicest game of the season by a mile, for what it means to our supporters, for the history of it.
"And now as well, because looking at the table and where both teams want to be, it becomes a really important match. I think the word is excitement."
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