Arteta is glad Spurs fans can attend the North London derby

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists he is happy Tottenham fans can attend Sunday’s North London derby and dismissed the idea that such situations are unfair to visiting teams.

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The Gunners head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend knowing that the hosts will be cheered by a crowd of 2,000, and the British government this week will allow fans to return to the stadiums in limited numbers in certain areas of the country.

Fans have not been allowed to participate in Premier League games since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, although there will be no absent support and many grounds in certain venues will remain closed due to regional infection rates.

Whether the area-by-area approach is fair has been widely debated, with some suggesting that fans should be able to enter all or none of the stadiums, and this coming weekend will be the Premier League’s first matchday since restrictions were relaxed.

It will no doubt be seen as a boost for Spurs heading into the game as they look to extend their six-game unbeaten streak against the Gunners at home in the league, while José Mourinho hopes to become Tottenham’s first manager since 1955- 56 in wins his first two derbies.

The impact of the returning fans is not lost on Arteta, who said: “You get booed at every ball, every fan is living that ball, pushing [willing] towards his team, you feel that energy.

“And you can’t deny as a player, when you are touched and felt by your fans and you are playing at that intensity and when the game has such meaning, it is a huge boost. A derby without the fans is not the same ”.

But Arteta stopped short of suggesting that it was unfair not to have any Arsenal fans present, adding: “Yes, but we have been waiting for this moment for a long time, we are not going to complain.

“Honestly, I want to play in a stadium with atmosphere, with some fans, for now it will be them with their fans and next week it will be us. We want to bring in more fans when it’s safe. ”

Arsenal are heading to Game 14 in the Premier League table, the lowest they have had before a derby in North London since August 1993, when they were 21st after just one game.

Similarly, the Spurs are on top and on the longest undefeated streak (nine) in the division, and while Arteta thinks it’s too early to consider them title contenders, he accepts that the eight-point gap between the two is there. for a reason.

“I think it is too early in the season to say who is a contender for the title or not, what you can say is that they are in the position they are because they have done things the right way,” he continued. “It is what it is, if the table is like that it is because they deserve it more than us and they are doing things better than us.

“Over 90 minutes, I don’t know, but at certain times in certain games they have done it and that’s how they got the results.

“We have to accept that. What we want is to go there and try to win it and make that gap three points smaller. They are in a great moment, full of confidence.

“You can see how much faith they have in what they do. When they have moments of difficulty, they stick to their plan and believe that they will get the result at some point, and in that moment it is happening to them.

“They are doing really well and that is why they are where they are.”

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