Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted Tottenham’s Harry Kane is currently the best striker in Europe but believes his own frontmen can shine in the north London derby this weekend.
Kane bagged his 100th Premier League goal in Spurs’ dramatic 2-2 draw at Liverpool last time out and spoke earlier this week of how being released from Arsenal’s academy as an eight-year-old left him with a “chip on his shoulder”.
He has a fine record against the Gunners with six goals in seven appearances but Wenger is looking to his forwards to take the headlines on Saturday lunchtime.
On whether there is a better striker in Europe than Kane at the moment, Wenger said: “If you look at the numbers, no, because he has high numbers but I believe what you want in a game like that is to keep him quiet and for our strikers to express their talent.”
When asked how Arsenal might stop Kane, Wenger wasn’t willing to go into details.
“I can talk and talk and talk, but it’s the numbers which will show that,” he said.
“The best way to defend is to have the numbers and take the game to them.”
Arsenal overcame Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium earlier in the season but sit four points behind their fifth-placed neighbours in the Premier League.
But Wenger is optimistic his side can make up some ground on Spurs, as he said: “We want to win this game, we have a good opportunity and we want to take it.
“It’s a big game because we are behind in the table and we have to catch up.
“It is more important for us to come back mathematically than it is emotionally-charged.”
Wenger admits that playing away at Wembley is more preferable to going to White Hart Lane but still the derby provokes “huge passion”.
“It has a little weight in it because we feel we have a good level of performance there.
“It won’t feel too much ‘away’ in that situation.
“We have a good record there.
“I have huge passion before the game.
“I worked with Pat Rice for many years, he of course got me very quickly on that territory.
“It is a game that is a bit more charged emotionally. This season if you look at the table for us it’s a very important game.”