North London derby lowdown: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says Arsenal and Spurs bitter rivalry is 'too much'
PUBLISHED: 15:29 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:29 29 November 2018
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Arsenal might be playing in the Ukraine on Europa League business, but all eyes are on Sunday’s eagerly-awaited 197th North London derby.
Unai Emery’s Gunners head into the match in Kiev after extending their unbeaten run to 17 matches following their 2-1 win at Bournemouth at the weekend.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed the winner but is already looking forward to sampling his first derby against Spurs at the Emirates.
The former Borussia Dortmund striker has notched eight goals this term to lift the Gunners to a point of the top four in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Previewing the match Aubameyang spoke about the antagonism, saying: “The rivalry is too much.
“But we know they are playing well. We know that it will be a tough game but we have to be focused on what we are doing.
“We know that if we want to win we need to work a lot.”
Spurs come into the game in good form having won seven of their last eight league games with the only defeat coming at Wembley against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the end of October.
The Lillywhites claimed an impressive victory against Chelsea at the national stadium on Saturday, beating their West London rivals 3-1 to end Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten run, before a late Christian Eriksen winner against Inter Milan on Wednesday kept their slender Champions League hopes alive.
However Aubameyang admits he does not want Tottenham to qualify for Europe’s top tournament next season and says he doesn’t enjoy Spurs’ wins because of the bitter rivalry.
He added: “Both teams are playing well in this moment so we feel the atmosphere and the excitement.
“Everybody is talking about this game. It is always special to play a derby.”
Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League, one point below Chelsea and three behind Spurs.
Asked if both north London clubs could qualify for next season’s Champions League, the striker added: ‘As an Arsenal player, we hope that only Arsenal get into the Champions League.
In terms of Premier League head to heads, Arsenal still boast bragging rights with 19 victories to Spurs’ 12 – with another 21 clashes ending in stalemate.
The fixture has been full of goals since the turn of the millennium topped by the Gunners’ 5-4 win in 2004 and the 4-4 thriller at the Emirates four years later – as well as two memorable 5-2 wins in 2012.
The overall head-to-head results see Arsenal hold a far superior record with 81 wins, 52 draws, and only 63 defeats.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29 for his in-depth coverage ahead of the North London derby on Sunday