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Wenger says Arsenal’s foreign legion don’t need importance of Spurs derby explained

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) celebrates scoring against Tottenham with Lukas Podolski. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) celebrates scoring against Tottenham with Lukas Podolski. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Friday, March 1, 2013
1:51 PM

Arsene Wenger says his summer foreign signings do not need a lesson in the passion, history and rivalry of the north London derby between Arsenal and Spurs, believing his players will be up for the fight.

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The Gunners travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday having already beaten Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium in November when Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski made their derby debuts and all scored in a 5-2 romp.

The clash between the capital clubs is always one of the Premier League’s most fiercely contested fixtures and the British contingent for both sides will need no introduction to that but neither, according to Wenger, do his overseas stars.

Asked if he’d ever tried to prepare some of his squad for the fire and brimstone of the north London derby, he said: “Not at all.

“It’s just the next game that we want to win, that’s it.

“They are aware of what we want to achieve and where we want to finish in the league.

“They don’t need it to be explained.

“Players who have experience are very ambitious players that want to play in the Champions League, so they know what is at stake and they will be completely focused on what we want to achieve, of course.”

In the race for European qualification Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are vying for the final two spots behind the two Manchester clubs.

As things stand it would be the Gunners - four points off Spurs and just outside the pack - who would miss out so victory on Sunday is vital to narrow the deficit.

Wenger’s side are unbeaten in five Premier League games but is under no illusions of what a positive result can mean to maintaining his perfect record in securing Champions League football.

“Sunday is a very important game because it’s in the final part of the Premier League season, the outcome will give a big boost to the team who wins it,” Wenger said.

“This is a derby and [will be] a very intense game, as usual, it is always very tight, always a big fight.

“If you look at our record in the last 15 or 16 years, it is very good. Of course we want to continue to maintain that record.”

But when asked if the victor on Sunday will finish highest in the league, Wenger said: “Not necessarily, no.

“There are still 10 games to go. In 10 games a lot can happen.”

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