Wenger won't target Bale

Wenger won't target Bale

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains his side will not be making any specials plans to try to shackle Gareth Bale in Sunday’s north London derby at White Hart Lane.

Bale cracked in a superb last-minute strike to secure a 3-2 win at West Ham on Monday night, which moved Spurs up into third place in the Barclays Premier League.

The Welshman – once scouted by Arsenal when a youngster at Southampton – is being heralded as one of the best in Europe, up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Wenger, though, insists his team must concentrate on delivering a performance themselves rather than worry about what Bale might do.

“We don’t plan for anybody. It is always the same – focus on our strengths and forget about your opponent,” said Wenger.

“There is nobody special that you least like to face. All players have different qualities. What is important when you are a manager is that you are focused, that hasn’t changed over the last 15 years, you always make sure your team is at its best, prepares well and focuses on playing the football that we love.

“What is important before a game like that is just to focus on our game and forget all the rest.”

Despite their recent disappointments against Blackburn in the FA Cup and losing at home to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash, Arsenal have found some form in the Premier League, where they are unbeaten in five games winning the past three.

Should Arsenal – who are now just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea - secure victory on enemy territory this weekend, the gap on Spurs would be reduced to just one point.

“It is an interesting game because there is something at stake,” said Wenger. “We are confident and we are on a good run in the Premier League. If you look at our record, it is very good in recent games, so we will just focus on our strengths, that is it.”

Wenger added: “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.

“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.”

Arsenal will be without defender Bacary Sagna (knee) on Sunday, while midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 with a calf problem

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