Unai Emery: Mauricio Pochettino is ‘very happy’ at Tottenham

Arsenal boss does not believe his rival will leave Spurs for Manchester United

Arsenal manager Unai Emery and Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino
Arsenal manager Unai Emery and Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino 
(Image credit: Dan Mullan/Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Arsenal host Tottenham tonight in the League Cup quarter-final but the north London derby has been somewhat overshadowed by the speculation surrounding the future of Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine has emerged as one of the leading candidates to take over at Manchester United next summer following the sacking of Jose Mourinho yesterday.

United have this morning confirmed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be their caretaker boss until the end of the season while they conduct a thorough recruitment process for a new full-time manager.

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According to Oddschecker Pochettino is the bookies’ favourite for the full-time role at Old Trafford. Former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and ex-Chelsea boss Antonio Conte are also in the mix.

Spurs manager Pochettino yesterday played down reports linking him with United and when asked about the situations at his Premier League rivals Arsenal boss Unai Emery also had his say.

Emery is a close friend of Pochettino and he believes his rival will remain in north London. Speaking to Sky Sports, Gunners gaffer Emery said: “I think he’s very happy at Tottenham. I think he’s coaching a very big team and now they are in the Champions League. They are also in a better position in the Premier League than Manchester United.

“I think his performance at Tottenham is very big. I don’t know if he’s thinking to change for another club, but I am looking at him with a very big commitment to Tottenham and he’s creating a good performance at Tottenham.”

North London derby part two

Just two weeks after Arsenal beat Spurs 4-2 in the Premier League clash the north London rivals go head-to-head again tonight in the League Cup.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has urged his side to take revenge on the Gunners and progress to the semi-finals of the competition. Spurs have not won a cup since 2008 and Kane says it’s time they end their trophy drought.

The England skipper told Sky Sports: “The stage we are at now as a team, it is the next step for us. We have to start winning trophies.

“If we win this one, it will be another tough team out of the tournament so it is a big opportunity for us and one we are really looking forward to.

“It is massive. Obviously, we played them a couple of weeks ago and they got one over on us. It will be nice to play them again so soon. Hopefully we can get it right this time and get the win. It is a quarter-final against your London rivals so it does not get much bigger.”

Arsenal vs. Spurs: team news and possible starting XIs

Arsenal team news

Gunners boss Unai Emery says he will not rely on too many youngsters and will pick a strong team to face Spurs tonight.

He said: “Our first idea is that we play with better players. You cannot use [too many young players] in this derby because the opposition is a very big opposition and this demands from us a big performance.

“We can [maybe] use some young players because we think they can give a big performance and can help us to win.”

The BBC reports that right-back Hector Bellerin has been ruled out because of a calf injury suffered in last weekend’s 3-2 loss at Southampton.

Sead Kolasinac is also a major doubt while centre-half Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) will be assessed before tonight’s clash. Sokratis Papastathopoulos is available after suspension and Stephan Lichtsteiner is fit.

Emile Smith Rowe (hip) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) miss the derby clash as do long-term absentees Danny Welbeck (ankle) and Rob Holding (knee).

Spurs team news

Juan Foyth has returned to training and fellow defender Davinson Sanchez could feature after recovering from a hamstring injury. Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen are out until January while Serge Aurier is a doubt.

Midfielders Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama remain on the sidelines.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up tonight at the Emirates Stadium, according to talkSPORT.

  • Arsenal possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Cech; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Ramsey; Lacazette
  • Tottenham possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Vorm; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Foyth, Davies; Winks, Skipp; Son, Alli, Lucas; Kane

League Cup quarter-finals

Last night’s results

  • Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (Man City won 3-1 on penalties)
  • Middlesbrough 0 Burton Albion 1

Tonight’s fixtures

  • Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports)
  • Chelsea vs. AFC Bournemouth (7.45pm)
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