Monday, June 24, 2024

Mikel Arteta reflects on his derby day experiences

In the second third of his pre-Sp*rs press conference (the final part is embargoed until this evening), Mikel Arteta chatted more about the derby rivalries he’s experienced during his career as a player and a coach.

To be honest, there’s nothing he hasn’t chatted about in the past, but we’re not responsible for the line of questioning…

On his North London derby memories…

I have so many. The big comeback that we made when we were 2-0 down, I think it was the second year I was here, it was a tremendous one, the way the stadium lifted the team the moment we scored the first one. The first one as a manager here was really special as well, because that’s when we were in a position where we needed that win at the time. It’s special. It’s a rivalry in a city, but I really like the rivalry. I have played many others, when I played in France, when I played in Spain, when I played in Glasgow, when I played in Liverpool, it’s a special thing here, it’s in the same city, there’s something between communities as well, and I really like it, it’s intense.

On whether a win against Sp*rs sets down a marker for the season…

I think it builds something even bigger as well, with your supporters. It’s a game that is always in your fixtures, and you look straight away when we’re playing that game, because it’s special, there’s something emotionally attached to it, and that makes it bigger, so it will be a big lift if we managed to win it.

On whether there’s anything better than winning a derby…

No, because you know what it means to people, and having that possibility in your job to make someone happy, that’s a huge fulfilment and a responsibility that we feel.

On whether he’s reminded by fans and staff about the importance of winning…

There is something, you walk down the streets and there is a feeling, I imagine it’s both ways, because there is the history, there is the rivalry, and that’s a beautiful thing if it’s taken in the right way in sport. We’re so privileged to be involved in these kind of games.

On whether his globally assembled squad understand the importance of a derby win…

They do understand and if they haven’t I would explain to them very quickly what it means. It’s simple to do that and they will realise the moment we get around the Emirates on Sunday afternoon and they see the atmosphere and the vibe around it, they will realise quickly what is coming.

On whether a derby can be treated like any other game…

No, I think there are things that often emotionally you have to control, the atmosphere will be different, it will be more electric, it will be more energy on the pitch, and you have to deal with that in the right way and take advantage of that.

On how the North London derby compares to the Old Firm derby…

First of all, living in those kinds of derbies in different countries is a blessing, and the Glasgow one is a huge one for many things, the rivalry, because of the religion, there is a lot of things culturally as well. The city is a really special one. I enjoy the one that we have the ability to play right now, which is this one.

On whether the Old Firm derby was more intense…

When I look back, probably it was a shock for me, you know, in the first five, six, ten minutes, I think the ball didn’t hit the floor, the grass. And everything was allowed [by the ref]. It was many years ago. And that was probably a big hit for me. Probably when I look back, I say, what was that? And then you get used to it and you find similarities.

On how he assesses Sp*rs so far this season…

I don’t know, it’s very early in the season, it’s very hard to tell. For sure they have a really good start and they’re in a good moment, and we are too, and it’s a big game, and we’re going to have to battle the right way to win.

On what qualities Sp*rs have that could pose Arsenal problems on Sunday….

Well, a lot. They don’t just win games, they dominate the games, they have scored a lot of goals. That’s certainly something. They are really attacking, flowing team and they go for it and it will be a very different approach probably for the games that we have played in the league so far.

On how Arsenal’s win over PSV further boosts Arsenal confidence…

For sure it has to drive the energy and the belief that we have to keep doing what we are doing and understand that it’s going to be a very different game, that it’s going to need that performance or even better to be there. And keep going.

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Cliff Bastin

If somehow they get past Declan, they just run into William.


They’ll be too scared to come close to Declan. They won’t even play out of their own half


I’m not sure I agree with that. They have a very offensive mindset. And I think that’s why they’ll lose. We’ve seen with PSV that when teams try to really play, we destroy them.

I think the right approach to beating us is what Man Utd did. Didn’t work because we’re amazing, but still.


Love it!


I think we can all agree that sp*rs are indeed very offensive.

North Bank Gooner

What do we think of Tottenham???




What do we think of who?


I’m excited. But nervous.
What’s the word for that? Excervous?
Yes I’m very excervous.



Man Manny

I think Spurs are enjoying early season flush of optimism combined with kind fixtures. The next two games will test their mettle to the core, and I expect them to wilt in both. Man United would have been out of sight in the first half of their game if they had their shooting boots on. They won’t be that lucky at the Emirates tomorrow with a forward line of Trossard, Jesus and Saka, with the imperious Ødegaard behind them, especially if they come out to play football. PSV tried and saw the firepower of the gunners.


Completely agree. Really don’t wanna jinx anything but I think as usual people are too obsessed with results at an early stage of the season and not enough analysing whether their team or the way they’ve played is actually predictive of future success. They needed 98th and 100th minute goals to beat Sheffield and looked only slightly better v Bournemouth and Brentford and could’ve easily lost to Utd if not for an own goal. Some of that could be said about us too to be fair, but the main difference imo is they have good players but barely any great… Read more »


I recall saying at the time that the result in the sp*rs utd game was all about sp*rs being slightly less shit than utd on the day.
I have yet to see anything to change that opinion.


Not like we have been overly convincing either. Dropping points to Fulham at home and needing injury time goals against Manure. Opening game against Forest was questionable also. Who else have we played? Our opening 5 fixtures have also been releatively easy on paper.


Honestly, I’m probably a bit biased but even trying to be objective about it I really do feel like it’s the best derby. At least in the last 12-14 years since Spurs have been fairly good, the level of football has been fairly high but more importantly both clubs have a tradition of playing attacking, technical football and always going for it which provides for some scintillating football, which really can’t always be said for the Manchester or Madridor Milan derbies, whose atmosphere can be just as intense and electric but often only one or zero teams come to actually… Read more »

A Different George

Of course anything can happen in a derby, but if Spurs try to play–as everyone says their manager insists on doing, regardless of the opponent–the likeliest result is what happened against PSV. They’ll have some breaks, inevitably, but Arsenal have significantly better players than Spurs in every area of the pitch. If he is smart, Ange will tell his players that the defeat was a measuring stick, a good gauge of how far they still have to go (as we used to say after we went to Anfield). That’s fine. We will say something else: Spurs get battered everywhere they… Read more »

djourou's nutmeg

could anyone help me understand why you feel tottenham as a derby or a special match? im not in the uk and only been following arsenal for 12 years, but besides spurs being usually a bunch of twats and the obvious geographical closeness, what makes it special? until not so long ago they weren’t even relevant in english football, and i don’t know about many cup or decisive matches we’ve had against them, Iike we have against chelsea or united. im sure there’s something im missing, so maybe older fans or someone from london can help me understand it better?


You can Google search details if you like but it goes back to when Arsenal moved from south London to north London over 100 years ago. Spurs didn’t like that.


The two stadiums are literally up or down the road from each other, it’s not just the same city but practically the same neighbourhood. It goes back to that old saying from your favourite westerns, “this [part of] town ain’t big enough for the both of us…”


There’s a meme or tick-tock going around asking how often do men think about the Roman Empire. Well quiet a bit actually but you know what I think about all the time; arsenal are the biggest club in Europe not to win a champs league, arsene wenger is the greatest manager never to win one and arteta is going to be the greatest manager to ever live and he will win it all with all with arsenal. Anyway whether that comes to fruition or not it just proves I never think of Tottenham.

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