The wonderfully outspoken Benoit Assou-Ekotto has given his opinion of rivals Arsenal ahead of today’s North London derby, and insists the North London side have nothing to fear when it comes to facing the Gunners.
Tottenham have improved dramatically since their opening two games of the season, form that has made them favourites heading into the fixture and the Cameroon international believes that is where they intend to be heading into the first North London derb of the season.
“For the last 10, 15, maybe 20 years what we’ve seen is the introduction of players who’ve come from other parts of the world. To these individual players the passion and the enthusiasm for the derby might not be as strong and intense as it is for the fans who have this feeling for a lifetime,” said Assou-Ekotto.
“However, the players fully understand it and there are still bragging rights amongst the players and amongst themselves, so they do take it very seriously. But most importantly the fans let them know that they have to take it seriously. There is an understanding and an appreciation of what a derby is all about.”
The left-back also took a stab at the Gunners, insinuating that, following the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsene Wenger’s side have less of a chance of winning a trophy than they have done in recent years.
“You know with them, they won nothing so I don’t think without them they will win something. They are still a good team but I don’t think they will do better than last season.”
Meanwhile, with Theo Walcott expected to return to the starting XI this afternoon, the prospect of facing the England international isn’t one that is causing Assou-Ekotto sleepless nights.
“Can we compare Theo Walcott and Lionel Messi?. If we can, then yes, he is a big player but if we can’t then he is not a big threat. I think he needs to progress before he can be compared with the best players in the world or in England,” he added.