Ian Wright has admitted that he is now as afraid as he has ever been leading up to a North London Derby, as Arsenal face a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
Hardly anyone would have expected at the start of the season that there would be thirteen places separating Tottenham and Arsenal in the league table going into the derby weekend.
While Jose Mourinho’s men are sitting pretty at the top of the table, Mikel Arteta’s side are languishing in 14th place, having won just once in their last six league games.
Tottenham boast the league’s meanest defence and the third most potent attack, while the Gunners are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net while also leaking goals in recent weeks.
Wright revealed that he used to love playing against Tottenham as a player but admitted that he feared that Arsenal might be humiliated this Sunday.
The Arsenal legend said on Ringer FC’s Wrighty’s House podcast (as relayed by The Metro): “Going into the north London derby, I’m always nervous about it simply because for me it is one of the best games, I enjoyed everything about it.
“And when I went to Arsenal it was the game which meant the most to the fans and at the time to the players because we had a lot of players who came through that derby from the age of nine or 10.
“This is the first one I’m going to where I am afraid. I’m afraid simply because of where Tottenham are at the moment and we can’t ignore where they are at the moment, they’re in the ascendency.
“When you look at what we’re doing at the moment we’re still trying to be finding something – is he going to play four at the back or three? Who’s going to pick up their players.
“This is as afraid as I’ve been for a north London derby as I’ve been for a while and they’ve got Mourinho managing them. He wants to embarrass us.”
Wright did suggest that Arteta’s men could potentially target Serge Aurier down the Tottenham right and urged the Spaniard to play Bukayo Saka or Reiss Nelson on that side instead of Willian.
He said: “I’d try to throw something else into the mix, Reiss Nelson or even [Bukayo] Saka on the right. But Saka’s going to be on the left so I’d put Reiss Nelson on the right instead of Willian because we know what Willian’s going to do.
“For me, he’s been a little bit negative with the way he’s been playing, a lot of backwards passing. You need somebody who can at least get back and progress the ball. If Saka can go and really put pressure on [Serge] Aurier, that’s where I think if we’re going to get any kind of joy.”
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