Arsenal face a major test of their Premier League title credentials today when they make the short trip to arch-rivals Tottenham.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners, seeking their first league title since 2004, started the weekend five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
Fifth-played Spurs are vying to win four consecutive league games at home against Arsenal for the first time.
“I think the players are in a good emotional state,” Arteta said.
“They are excited, they enjoy playing together and obviously we are in a good position. Now we have to improve many things and maintain many of the good things that have brought us here.”
However, Arteta admitted that he may have to change his “behaviour” after the club was accused of failing to control its players. That was because of his angry reaction to missing out on a penalty in Monday’s FA Cup win over Oxford United.
I prefer not to comment on that. [charge],” he said. “Whatever we can do to improve, we will always have a conversation with our players, the staff, also as a club to see what we can do better, if we have to change any behaviour.”
Spurs boss Antonio Conte has asked both sets of players to respect referee Craig Pawson this weekend.
“You have to show respect in every situation and especially also with the referee because I know very well the difficulty of being a referee, of making decisions,” said the Italian.
“I think intimidating or creating a bad environment is not fair. I don’t like this. I hate people who try to do it. Do not forget that we are always talking about a football game”.
Arsenal are on an 11-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, while Spurs have lost five of their last 11, including October’s 3-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium.
Striker Richarlison and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur undergo physical tests, while Lucas Moura remains out with a hamstring injury.
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka was sent off by Oxford in the FA Cup on Monday but is likely to be available.
Forwards Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson remain sidelined with respective knee and thigh problems.
On the field, he could be a lot less competitive. Arsenal are a much better team, and for most of the season, Tottenham’s performances have not been good enough.
Spurs have failed to score in just one of their previous 17 top-flight meetings with Arsenal – a 2-0 defeat in November 2017.
Tottenham have lost three of their last four Premier League home games and have won the other. Spurs have scored 27 of their 37 Premier League goals in second-half games this season, more than any other team.
By contrast, they have scored just once in the first half of their last 13 games in all competitions. That was Harry Kane’s goal against Leeds in November.
Antonio Conte has won just two of his 10 games as manager against Arsenal (D4, L4). Harry Kane is one shy of matching Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham’s top scorer with 266 goals for the club.
Kane is also two away from 200 Premier League goals and is bidding to become the third player to reach that milestone after Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer. He has nine goals in eight Premier League games at home against Arsenal.