Sead Kolasinac is adamant that Arsenal are a better team than their north London rivals Tottenham despite the club’s contrasting fortunes this year.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash at the Emirates, Spurs sit third in the Premier League table, three places and four points ahead of Arsenal.
Spurs finished ahead of Arsenal in the table for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure at the club to clinch second place and Champions League football last season while Arsenal had to make do with a place in this season’s Europa League instead.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are also considered to be more of a threat to title favourites Manchester City this term, but Kolasinac, who arrived at the Emirates from Schalke 04 this summer, insisted that Arsenal have the individual quality to win the game.
When asked which team is better on paper, Kolasinac said: “Arsenal, of course!
“Having said that, both teams are very strong and boast plenty of individual players who can decide a game.
“At the end of the day, though, you have got 11 players on the pitch for each team. And, yes, there are players who can make a difference individually.
“But on Saturday the winner will be the team that stands together collectively and fights harder.”
Arsenal have struggled to get the better of their rivals in recent years having failed to beat them in their previous six league encounters, with the last three meetings at the Emirates all ending 1-1.
Kolasinac knows all about local rivalries having played in his fair share of Revierderby matches for Schalke against Borussia Dortmund and he appears to be relishing his first taste of the north London derby this weekend.
“In my first few weeks here I was told that the Spurs match is the most important of the season,” he said.
“No question, as a footballer you look forward to those games. That is why I am looking forward to playing in my first north London derby on Saturday.”
Kolasinac’s wholehearted approach endeared him to the club’s faithful straight away and while the team have endured an inconsistent start to the campaign, the Bosnia international has impressed with his energetic performances down the left flank.
Thanks to his powerful build and all-action style of play, Kolasinac has been described as a tank, a ‘unit’ and even an animal by some of his teammates, including Theo Walcott and he claimed that he has his father to thank for his physique.
“Well, those nicknames are funny, of course!” he said. “I am pleased that I have already been given a few nicknames.
“On the other hand, I would be just as happy if they called me simply “Seo”.
“I think my physique is partly genetic, I have got it from my dad. When he was young he used to be very strong, too.
“Sure, I also go to the gym and work out there, but I am lucky to have inherited my strength partly from my dad.”