Unai Emery has admitted that Spurs are better than Arsenal ‘at this moment’ but was quick to point out that this is only a temporary thing.
Arsenal go into Sunday’s game knowing that a win over Tottenham will take them above their neighbours in the league. Pundits, however, are acting as if there is a 20-point gap between the sides.
Arsenal fans know that their side is not quite as good as Tottenham, but they also know that they have just endured their worst period in decades – while Spurs have enjoyed their best – and there are still only three points between the sides.
“At this moment, Tottenham are better than us in the table and better than us also last year,” Emery told reporters ahead of the game.
“But, in history, Arsenal is better at another moment than Tottenham. There will be two groups of supporters making a very good atmosphere.
“The first [derby] match is in our stadium with our supporters and we want Sunday to give them the best performance, and our energy, and to feel them pushing us.”
Unai Emery is the master of delivering lots of words without actually saying anything, but we can see that he knows what this game means to supporters, even if we have few players left in the squad that are aware of the importance of this game.
Emery was also full of praise for his opposite number in the Tottenham dugout. “I was the coach in Valencia and this was when Pochettino was finishing his playing career,” Emery said.
“And we met in Valencia watching the Chile training sessions. And a few months later he took over as coach of Espanyol. We were learning with Bielsa in this moment. But Pochettino wanted to be a coach and since then his career has grown.
“His career is very consistent. His structure in every team is very clear, with good performances.
“He has worked in Spain, then here with Southampton and Tottenham, with young players, and every young player usually improves with him and his staff.
“I think he deserves because of his career to be considered with the best coaches like Guardiola and Simeone.”