Football

Arsenal's new boys face early baptism of fire in North London Derby

New Arsenal signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will get an early taste of the North London Derby atmosphere when they face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley tomorrow.

The pair enjoyed comfortable home debuts in last weekend's 5-1 rout of Everton but their local rivals are sure to provide tougher opposition as the two teams continue their bids for Champions League qualification, reported Reuters.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident his pair of new signings have enough quality to cope with the hostile environment of a full-blooded derby encounter at Wembley.

Asked how they will keep their emotions in check, the Frenchman was quoted as saying on Arsenal's official website: "Just by focusing on their performance and on our team play.

"We want them focusing on how we want to play the game, tactically and technically.

"Once the game has started, these guys have experience, they have played top-level games.

"They know what is important and they know that the most important thing is to focus on the performance.

"We are in the middle of the season, and they are top-quality players, so why should they not repeat that type of performance," he added.

Wenger also waded into the diving controversy that has enveloped Spurs since their 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

Spurs were awarded two controversial penalties in that game, while midfielder Dele Alli was also cautioned for diving.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has since defended his team, saying that "tricking your opponents" is part of the game. When asked about his counterpart's comments, Wenger appeared to take a subtle dig at Pochettino.

He said: "I am convinced that he wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever.

"How far was it an apology for diving? I'm not sure at all.

"I don't think he would.

"In my personal case? No.

"We have to get the diving out of the game.

"I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it but I must say the English players have learnt very quickly and they might even be the masters now."

Football