Arsene Wenger: We can outgun Spurs

Tottenham v Arsenal: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident his side will still have the "offensive power" to blow away rivals Tottenham even without Alexis Sanchez at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Chile international Sanchez, who has plundered 18 goals already, faces a late fitness test on a hamstring strain which forced him to miss last weekend’s 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa.

Theo Walcott, who is set to make his 200th Premier League appearance, bagged his second goal in as many games against Villa, as did German playmaker Mesut Ozil, which gives Wenger plenty of options as he prepares for a 45th north London derby and a 700th Premier League match in charge.

“For me, the challenge is to find the balance between creative players and the real strikers,” said Wenger, whose side have won just once at White Hart Lane in six attempts with Tomas Rosicky’s early goal settling matters last March.

“We had too many players because think of who was available (before). Now (Lukas) Podolski is out on loan, so is (Yaya) Sanogo and (Joel) Campbell, and still we do not have (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain (injured).

“So you could see that at the start of the season, I had even more offensive power.”

Wenger continued: “All the teams at the top have great offensive power — (Manchester) City, Chelsea, Liverpool, (Manchester) United. Getting that one player right gives you the efficiency, and it is not always a player who makes headlines.”

While Arsenal may well adopt the similar approach which secured them a 2-0 win at Manchester City last month, where Francis Coquelin shielded the back four and Santi Cazorla orchestrated the transition, the Gunners will have plenty of options for an attacking outlet.

Walcott is looking sharp after finally putting the disappointment behind him of almost a year out with a serious knee injury.

“Theo’s first quality is the quality of his reception, that means the timing of his movement and where he goes which is absolutely exceptional, one of the best in the world and he has the pace behind it ” said Wenger.

“Theo is not completely there yet, which is normal because he has been out for a year, but you can see week after week, he gets better.”

Wenger is keen to tie up Walcott to another long-term deal, with his current contract entering into the last 18 months. “Just before he was injured, he was the best Theo I have ever seen,” the Arsenal boss added. “He had a good balance between being physical, using his pace, and the quality of his finishing had improved tremendously.

“Theo had a lot of injuries. I think what he needs is to be a long time without injury. He is 26 in March and now that is (a) decisive (period) for his career, (from) 25 to 30.”

Walcott was pelted with objects as he was carried off on a stretcher in front of the away supporters at the Emirates Stadium, to which he player responded with a 2-0 hand gesture. Wenger, though, is confident the England forward will cope with whatever hot reception awaits at White Hart Lane.

“He is strong enough to put up with it. When you are a player you want to play big games, this is a big game.”

Arsenal could move just three points behind second-placed Manchester City with what would be a sixth successive victory. Tottenham, though, are also in good form, sitting just a place below the Gunners in sixth and just a couple of points behind.

Wenger has been impressed by the work of Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.

“He came (to Southampton) in the middle of the season and people were asking why he had come and he quickly convinced people of his quality,” Wenger said.

“He looks to already get his style at Spurs and be efficient.”

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