It has been a very long time since a North London derby has such massive significance as this one, and Arsenal are really going to have to pull out all the stops to take all three points from Tottenham this afternoon. The task of overtaking our noisy neighbours in the League seemed impossible just a couple of weeks ago, but suddenly a string of wins for us, and a couple of defeats for Spurs, and we could be right up their ‘proverbials’ if we win today.
But Unai Emery is trying to keep the players feet on the ground and is emphasising that the only important thing is to play your very best and win this game. Then we can talk about future possibilities. “Usually I’m not thinking about the ‘if’s.” he said. “I’m thinking in the present and the moment. We will prepare to deliver the best performance individually and collectively. We need to be strong and we need to be very concentrated over 90 minutes and we need to read different moments in 90 minutes. When we get our chances, we need to be efficient in attacking moments against them.”
And asked about the Top Four race, he again made it clear what his priority is. “That is the same. I want to enjoy each moment, I want to enjoy tomorrow, and I want to be very efficient in each moment. Tomorrow we will play and we will enjoy it. I know that if we win, if we can produce the best performance tomorrow, we will be happy and we are going to be better off in the table – but that is not my target today. My target today is to prepare for the match as best as possible and to take the best confidence in our gameplay. After, to help the players to do their best over 90 minutes on the pitch.”
The message is clear, there is no point in thinking about the consequences until the game is over. If we win this battle then we can really start dreaming of St Totteringham’s Day again, but even if we lose the war is still far from over. Let’s play our very best for the 90 minutes and see where it takes us.