Mikel Arteta wants no excuses from Arsenal despite Tottenham’s north London derby boost

Simon Collings
·1-min read
<p>Arteta: “I don’t want to use one bit of excuse”</p> (Getty Images)

Arteta: “I don’t want to use one bit of excuse”

(Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has admitted Tottenham have an edge by playing their Europa League match at home before next week’s north London derby - but Arsenal cannot use that as an excuse.

Arsenal and Tottenham will meet at Emirates Stadium on March 14 in the Premier League, but before that both sides are in European action.

They have the first legs of their Europa League last-16 ties on March 11, with Arsenal taking on Olympiacos and Spurs facing Dinamo Zagreb.

When the draw was made last week, both sides were due to play away first - with Arsenal in Greece and Tottenham in Croatia.

That, however, would mean both teams playing at home in the same city for the second legs on March 18 and Uefa rules do not allow that.

As a result, Tottenham will play their first leg at home because, as domestic cup winners, Arsenal’s tie takes priority.

It means the Gunners get to play their second leg at home still, but rivals Tottenham now do not have to travel abroad before next week’s north London derby.

And asked if the switching of Spurs’ tie gave Tottenham an edge, Arteta said: “It does, but unfortunately it’s not going to change.

“We can raise our voices and we should do that because we want to have two teams playing in equal conditions. But the decision has been made and that’s it.

“I don’t want to use one bit of excuse going towards that game saying: ‘Oh, they have an advantage’.

“So no, probably I will use that to take it in our advantage. And that’s it.”

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