Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his players are in “really good emotional shape” ahead of Sunday’s north London derby as they seek to avenge last season’s painful defeat at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Arsenal lost 3-0 last May when they were chasing qualification for a top four spot and instead Spurs finished in the Champions League qualifying places.
Arteta said that there is a lot to learn from this game.
“We didn’t win there (at the new stadium) and that’s the challenge we’re facing,” he said. “We’re in a different place. We have to show that by playing the way we want to play.”
The Spaniard, whose team beat Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates earlier this season, said his players were relaxed ahead of Sunday’s game.
“I think the players are in a very good emotional state,” he said. “We are excited, we enjoy playing together and we are in a good position.
“Therefore, we need to improve a lot of what we have yet to do, and we need to preserve what has taken us this far.”
League leaders Arsenal, five points clear of defending champions Manchester City, have not won away from Spurs since 2014, five years before their rivals moved to the new stadium.
“Obviously the way we performed and the results we got in terms of confidence puts us in a good position,” he said.
“But this is something you have to show in every match, every opponent and especially every away game is a big problem and this is no different. We have to prove that we are good enough to go there, play our way and win the match.”
Arteta acknowledged that Arsenal were “trying to improve” their squad in the January transfer window, but did not talk about Shakhtar Donetsk striker Mykhailo Mudryk at the pre-match press conference.
Reports say a big deal for the 22-year-old is close at hand.
“We can’t talk about any other players,” Arteta said. “There is some interest in things we would like to do to improve the team because we are a bit behind in some areas due to the injuries we (have).
“We try as a club. We are determined to try and improve the team in every window and that’s what we’re trying to do.”