Arsene Wenger has dismissed the idea that Arsenal are underdogs for Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham.
The Gunners finished behind their huge rivals last season for the first time since Wenger took charge in 1996 and are four points adrift of third-placed Spurs already this term.
But Wenger denied the tide had turned to the extent that he considered his side the underdogs for the eagerly-awaited derby at the Emirates.
“Not at all,” said the Arsenal manager.
“I think Tottenham is a good side but we have the quality to win this game and that is what we want to show.”
Wenger has a superb record in the north London derby and agreed that it is a fixture he always looks forward to.
“There is always pride involved, a desire to beat your opponent,” he said.
“You need to have full commitment, but as well be lucid enough and calm enough to focus on the game.
“It is one of the fixtures of course that is very important for us and that you want to win.
“Basically as well, in the table, we have to make some ground up with the top teams.
“At home we have been very strong and our home strength will certainly be vital to decide where we finish at the end of the season.”
Wenger said defender Shkodran Mustafi and forward Danny Welbeck will have fitness tests ahead of Saturday’s game.
But French striker Olivier Giroud is unlikely to be available after picking up a thigh strain while on international duty.