Arsene Wenger: Beware life after the White Hart Lane

Tottenham v Arsenal: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has reiterated that rivals Tottenham face a “very difficult” transition when they move into their new stadium.

Arsene Wenger: Beware life after the White Hart Lane

Wenger takes his side to White Hart Lane for what could be the last time on Sunday, with Spurs yesterday confirming a move to Wembley for a season before taking residence of their new home.

The Gunners underwent the same process when they relocated from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, with a period of financial restraint and readjustment following.

Since the move, Arsenal have not been able to recapture the Premier League title they last lifted in 2004 and Wenger also had to sell a plethora of talent to help balance the books.

Now, ahead of his 50th – and potentially last – north London derby – he has again warned his fierce rivals it can take a long time to feel at home in a new ground.

Asked how difficult the new stadium could prove for Spurs, Wenger replied: “Very difficult, much more you can imagine.

“First of all, you face financial restrictions, which we did. Overall, it might be less in future because you have more income.

“Secondly because you don’t feel at home like you were before. And you need to recreate a kind of history to feel comfortable and to feel like you play at home. I would say it can take two years (to feel at home).”

Victory for Tottenham tomorrow would mean they are guaranteed to finish above their neighbours for the first time since 1995. Arsenal fans have become so accustomed to being the top dogs in north London they have christened the day when Spurs cannot mathematically finish above them in the table as ‘St Totteringham’s Day’.

Wenger has never finished below Tottenham and admits White Hart Lane has been the scene of some of the highs during his two-decade spell in charge of Arsenal.

“When you finish 20 years above them, it’s not important and now suddenly it becomes important,” he said. “Yes, it matters, of course. We want to be stronger than Spurs, we want to be stronger than everybody.”

Asked about his best memory at Spurs, he said: “Maybe when we won the title there, but it was good and bad that season because they equalised in the last minute and we nearly had a fight in the dressing room between Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann, because Jens gave the penalty (away).”

While Arsenal battle to finish in the top four, Spurs will be looking to beat their rivals to keep their title ambitions alive.

But Wenger insists wrecking the championship hopes of Mauricio Pochettino and his players is not on his agenda.

“We focus on our own achievements, to win our own games, I don’t live, I’m not in football because I want to stop other teams to be successful. I’m in football because I want to be successful ourselves.”

Mauricio Pochettino insists he will still feel disappointed if Tottenham fail to win the Premier League title — even if they finish above Arsenal.

“My feeling is now when so close, only four points but it’s massive with only five games to play, I will be very disappointed if we don’t win the title,” Pochettino said.

“I will start to think of the good things that have happened this season and be realistic to analyse the season but I really don’t think in which position is Arsenal.”

Pochettino added: “My challenge and my aim is not to be above Arsenal. My challenge and my aim is to be above 19 teams and be on the top. That is my challenge, my aim, my dream. I don’t care what happens with Arsenal, with all my respect. What I care is what happens with us. That’s our big, big challenge at Tottenham.”

Still, for Tottenham’s fans, guaranteeing superiority over their fiercest rivals would be particularly sweet.

“Maybe it will be the last derby but we are playing from the beginning of the season as if it’s the last game at White Hart Lane,” Pochettino said.

Danny Rose has begun light training after three months out with a knee injury but the left-back will not be ready to play this weekend.

It means Ben Davies is likely to start again while Mousa Dembele is also struggling to be fit. The Belgian was taken off at half-time against Crystal Palace on Wednesday with an ankle problem.

Huth has cut at Sanchez

Arsenal may have had the last laugh on Leicester’s Robert Huth last Wednesday night, but the big centre-half is winning the battle of the bantz.

The German deflected in Nancho Monreal’s wild shot in the 86th minute at the Emirates to give Arsenal a 1-0 win, before becoming embroiled in an injury-time scuffle with Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez had fallen dramatically clutching his face when Leicester’s Christian Fuchs flung a throw-in at the Chilean who then clashed with Huth minutes later.

After the game, Sanchez posted a photo on his Instagram account of his swollen lip, as if to show he had been struck, though the ball appeared to strike him on the shoulder.

And yesterday Huth countered on Twitter with a photo of his own battle scar, a cut finger, with the message: “Just about recovered from the arsenal battle the other night #playon.”

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