Tottenham's Ben Davies praises Arsenal for sticking by Mikel Arteta – and says rivals' season is motivating his side | The SunJanuary 12, 2023
TOTTENHAM defender Ben Davies has praised Arsenal for sticking by Mikel Arteta during the tough times – and says their rivals' stellar season has been motivating Spurs.
Arteta has guided the Gunners to the top of the table, having dropped just SEVEN points from their 17 league games so far.
But it was not always such plain sailing, particularly at the start of last season when a hat-trick of league defeats put Arsenal bottom of the Premier League, prompting some fans to call for Arteta’s head.
Arch-rivals Spurs will hope to inflict a second league defeat of the campaign on the Spaniard’s side when they host the North London derby on Sunday.
But Tottenham left-back Davies confessed to being impressed with the patience shown by the Gunners board.
The Welshman said: “Clearly, what Arteta has done there has been very good.
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“But I'm sure there were very tough times for him as well when things weren't going their way.
“So credit to the club for sticking by him, it seems to be paying dividends.”
While Arsenal have been almost flawless this season, Spurs have been up and down.
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They are fifth in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, but performances have been found wanting at times.
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On watching their neighbours shine, Davies added: “It's just extra motivation for us. They're playing well.
“They look like a very good side at the moment.
“They're giving every team they play against tough games but we just want to focus on ourselves right now and hopefully at the end of the season we're there or thereabouts.”
Spurs go into the powder-keg fixture 11 points off Arsenal, having played a game more.
A victory for the white side of North London would be a huge boost to their top-four prospects.
They have had a free week to prepare for the game too which has been a rarity this term.
Antonio Conte’s men benefitted from there regularly being seven days between games in the second half of last season.
It led to them pipping Arsenal to fourth despite being four points behind them with three games to go.
Davies claimed the extra time to work is crucial because it gives Conte a chance to work his magic in training.
The 29-year-old explained: “When we do have the time on the training pitch, we have a world-class manager who can really whip us into shape when we have that time.
“Whenever you have time on the training pitch, your ideas will become more clear.
“You'll become probably technically better knowing this is our plan going into the game.
“It's more about the time that we get and we know that in football now, with games every three days, it's not always easy to do that.”
The next few weeks could go a long way to defining Tottenham’s season.
After Arsenal, they face Manchester City twice in the league, with a trip to in-form Fulham and an FA Cup clash at Preston sandwiched in between.
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Davies commented: “When you play against the big teams you can look at it in two ways.
“You can either look at it as being tough or as an opportunity to bounce up the table and that's the way we want to see it.”
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