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EPL 2016/17: Robert Pires believes Arsenal will beat Tottenham and that Laurent Koscielny is the best defender in the league

1.65K   //    05 Nov 2016, 18:57 IST
Wenger Pochettino
Arsenal take on Spurs in the much-awaited London derby

Arsenal couldn’t have asked for a better time to face their eternal rivals. Ever since their dominant 2-0 victory over Manchester City, Tottenham haven’t won a single game in six attempts. In Harry Kane’s absence, coach, Mauricio Pochettino has adopted different styles but to no avail.

Bur former Arsenal legend, Robert Pires believes that the game will not be as straightforward as it may seem to some - “All the games against Tottenham are very difficult. It will be physical and tough but that’s normal because this is the derby. If we play like we normally do, we will win. But Arsenal need to be serious,” he said.

Also read: EPL 2016/17: Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur: Combined XI

Wenger has had the luxury of switching player positions this season, something which Pires says will be key in the high-intensity derby.

“The players are confident and ready”

“Last game we were trailing 2-0 against Ludogorets but eventually won. The reaction was very good. All the players are confident and ready for tomorrow. The good news is that Wenger has options. He can play with Sanchez in front or Giroud in front and Sanchez on the left. Ozil behind the striker”, he explained.

When Tottenham take on the Gunners on Sunday, last season’s heartbreaking finale will be fresh in Pochettino’s mind and he’s openly admitted that the way they ended their season still hurts. Spurs only needed a draw to finish above Arsenal but they were hammered 5-1 by Newcastle.

Based on current form, the former FC Goa and Arsenal winger said the Gunners fans have every right to look forward to a positive result on Sunday.

Arsenal will win tomorrow, says Pires

“Arsenal are doing well. Unfortunately, we lost the game at home against Liverpool. But since that, everything looks perfect. When you see Arsenal playing, it looks very good. This is Wenger’s philosophy that he’s adopted for 20 years. I think we will win tomorrow against Tottenham,” Pires stated.

Among the top 4, Arsenal have conceded the least number of goals (9) so far, scoring 23 goals in the process and the former Gunners man believes certain players will be crucial in maintaining and improving upon this statistic.


“Players with technical quality like Mesut Ozil, Sanchez or Cazorla will be important. This Arsenal side is very compact. I think the best defender in the Premier League right now is Laurent Koscielny. He is very important. The secret has been good unity,” he explained. 

Also read: EPL 2016/17: 5 things to watch out for in the North London Derby

Lastly, the Frenchman reminisced about his days at Arsenal - ”I think if you play at the highest level, you need to play with players of character. I played with Ray Parlour and he was a funny guy but Martin Keown was funnier. For a player like me, it was very important to play with a typical English players like Ray, Martin, Tony Adams and Lee Dixon because you need to learn English football. The football in France is not the same. I remember when we played at Bolton, Blackburn and Leeds, it was very, very difficult,” he concluded. 

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