Wenger - I expect it to be an open derby

Arsene Wenger heads into his 50th north London derby on Sunday - and he says that the buzz remains as strong as ever.

With Tottenham in second place in the Premier League, there has been much discussion in the media about the relative strengths of both sides ahead of the match.

This is what the Arsenal manager told his pre-match press conference:

on what game he’s expecting…I expect an open match, a committed match, a match with high pace. There could be goals because both teams play positive football, try to go forward and play in an offensive way. Normally that finishes with goals if you look at the quality of players on both sides.

on never finishing below Tottenham and if it happens…If, if, if! If, if! It’s true that always in our press conferences we have to respond [about] if the worst happens what do you do? But let’s make sure that the best happens and give absolutely everything to make sure that we finish in a very strong way to our season.

on whether there’s a chance Tottenham could implode again…No. I focus on Arsenal. What will happen to Spurs, it’s not to me to comment about that. I have to focus on what we can do and how well we can finish the season. We have big Premier League games, we have an FA Cup final to prepare for, so we have to focus absolutely on us and not expect any weakness fro our opponents.

on whether he’s feeling sentimental about last derby at White Hart Lane…I’m not in a position today where sentiment comes in too much. Your colleague told me that I’d played 50 London derbies, so of course there were some special ones in there. I’m not in a mode to reflect on that today. Maybe one day I will write a book just about the derbies!

on this being the fiercest Spurs side he’s faced…Yes, it’s certainly one of the few times where, if you look at people’s opinions, Spurs are favourites.

on whether he actually thinks they’re favourites in people’s minds…It looks a bit like that but it doesn’t matter too much to me.

on whether it matters that Tottenham could finish above Arsenal…The priority for us is to finish in the top four. After that, for the pride and the continuity or our achievements, yes we want to fight to be in front of Spurs. We have to focus on what is really important to us at this moment, which is to finish in the top four.

on it indicating a shift in power if Spurs do finish higher…Let’s be honest, I’ve answered that question about a shift in power over 18 consecutive years. Nothing changes in that.

on whether Spurs have to do more over a longer period of time…I think so. You cannot say that the weight of one year has the weight of 20.

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