Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says his players are in a “really good emotional state” ahead of Sunday’s north London derby as they aim to avenge last season’s painful defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Arsenal went down 3-0 in May last year as they chased qualification for a top-four spot, with Spurs eventually finishing in the Champions League qualification places instead.
Arteta said there were a lot of things to learn from that game.
“We haven’t won there (at the new stadium), and that’s the challenge we have ahead of us,” he said. “We are in a different place. We have to show that playing the way we want to play.”
READ ALSO: FIFA Opens Disciplinary Proceedings Against Argentina Over World Cup Final
The Spaniard, whose team beat Spurs 3-1 at the Emirates earlier this season, said his players were relaxed ahead of Sunday’s clash.
“I think the players are in a really good emotional state,” he said. “We are excited, we are enjoying playing together and we are in a good position.
“So we have to improve a lot of the things we still have to do, and we have to maintain the things that have taken us this far.”
League leaders Arsenal, who are five points clear of defending champions Manchester City, have not won away at Spurs since 2014 — five years before their rivals moved into their new stadium.
“Obviously the way we have performed and the results that we have got confidence-wise puts us in a good position,” he said.
“But then it’s something that you have to show in every single match, every opponent and especially every away game brings big challenges and this is no different. We have to prove that we are good enough to go there, play our way and win the match.”
Arteta admitted Arsenal were “trying to improve” the squad in the January transfer window but would not speak about Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk at his pre-match press conference.
Reports say a big-money deal for the 22-year-old is close.
“We cannot talk about any other players,” said Arteta. “There is some interest in things we’d like to do to improve the team, because we are a bit short in certain areas with the injuries we’ve (picked up).
“We are trying as a club. We are determined to try to improve the team in every window and that’s what we’re trying to do.”