Tottenham vs Arsenal preview: Mauricio Pochettino plays down Spurs title chances
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Last Updated: 02/03/19 7:41am
Mauricio Pochettino has played down Tottenham's title chances ahead of the north London Derby against Arsenal on Saturday.
Tottenham head into the derby in third place in the Premier League, nine points adrift of leaders Liverpool and looking to end a run of back-to-back league defeats.
Pochettino is aware of the damage the losses against Chelsea and Burnley have have done to their title challenge.
He said: "It was difficult after Burnley and after Chelsea it is nearly impossible.
"It is going to be tough. We need to win all of the games and the two opponents above us need to lose some games.
"If we want to be dreamers then until it is mathematically impossible you can dream. But realistically the percentage is not too big."
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has urged his players to seize their moment and beat Spurs to move within a point of their neighbours.
The Gunners head to Wembley knowing they can close right up on their rivals, who occupy third place in the Premier League table.
"We've been speaking about the opportunity and each match gives us the opportunity to win three points," he said.
"Sometimes we can take the big opportunity like this because there were 10 points difference between us and Spurs two weeks ago. Now it's four points.
"On Saturday we are going to play together and it's very important for both teams. It's very different if you win or lose."
Tottenham will give fitness tests to Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks who both have hip injuries. Vertonghen's was picked up in the build-up to Wednesday's defeat to Chelsea, where Winks sustained a similar problem.
Harry Kane will be available after he escaped retrospective action from the Football Association following his clash with Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
Dele Alli (hamstring) and Eric Dier (tonisillitis) are both out.
As for the visitors, centre-back Laurent Koscielny is a doubt after picking up a knock late on in Wednesday's win over Bournemouth.
However, Emery hopes to have experienced right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner back following a hip issue and fellow full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also available after illness.
- Tottenham Hotspur have won five of their last seven home Premier League games against Arsenal (D1 L1), including each of the last two; only once in their top-flight history have Spurs won three consecutively at home against the Gunners (between January 1960 and August 1961).
- Arsenal are looking to complete a Premier League double over rival Spurs for only the fourth time, also doing so in 2004-05, 2007-08 and 2013-14.
- The away team have won just one of the last 16 Premier League fixtures between Spurs and Arsenal, with the Gunners winning 1-0 at White Hart Lane in March 2014; the home team has won each of the last four since April 2017.
- This will be the fifth meeting between Tottenham and Arsenal at Wembley, with Spurs winning two (D1 L1). They could become the first team to beat the Gunners on three separate occasions at the stadium.
- Tottenham haven't lost three consecutive Premier League games since November 2012, the third defeat of which came against Arsenal.
- Arsenal have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 13 in the competition (W5 D5 L3).
Tottenham were really bad on Wednesday, poor. If you'd have just come over to visit England and gone to watch Chelsea vs Tottenham, and you went to see Harry Kane because he's supposed to be one of the best in the world, you wouldn't believe it.
I've seen people have bad games, but he didn't do anything in the entire game. Nothing. I was shocked. I don't know if he's still carrying his injury or what.
I don't think Tottenham are playing well, and the pressure is off Arsenal going into this. Tottenham have to draw this game otherwise they're going to be pulled into the top-four battle.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)