Watch the best bits from Piers Morgan vs Lord Alan Sugar as they talk about the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham as well as preview the North London derby on Saturday.
Arsenal v Tottenham, Piers Morgan v Lord Sugar: two hotly-anticipated battles in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
The rival fans went head to head for a pre-match special ahead of Saturday’s showdown, live on Sky Sports Premier League, reliving their favourite north London derby memories, running the rule over the current crop of managers and players and trading familiar jibes along the way.
Arsenal vs Tottenham
November 18, 2017, 11:30am
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As Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves plays man in the middle, Morgan explains how his affair with Arsene Wenger has gone sour and sends a cheeky message to Tottenham star Harry Kane, while former Spurs chairman Lord Sugar reveals what makes Mauricio Pochettino so different from the managers he once appointed.
Read on for a fascinating joust between two old adversaries and watch the best bits in the video above…
Morgan v Sugar on Wenger, Pochettino, rivalry and more…
Geoff Shreeves: Gentlemen, looking forward to the weekend?
Piers Morgan: No, I’m not looking forward to it because I fear there has been a shift in power and it’s the first time I can remember Tottenham coming to Arsenal’s ground in the league where I genuinely think we’re going to lose. I feel like I’m waving a white flag but I can only be realistic.
LS: I’m going to read out one of his tweets just to get the mood going: ‘The worst Arsenal team I have ever had the misery to endure. Embarrassing, humiliating, and soul destroying.’ Those were your words.
PM: Yes, but I’d rather still be an Arsenal fan than a Tottenham fan.
GS: Arsenal at home this season – played five, won five. Tottenham have won only one of their last 24 visits to Arsenal. Is that not reason for optimism?
PM: I would always bet on Spurs to choke but I do feel that right now Spurs have a better manager, a better owner, a better team. How many Arsenal players would you put in that Tottenham team? I’m afraid, Arsenal fans – and many at the moment are like ostriches, putting their head in the sand and pretending this isn’t happening – would struggle to find more than two places in that Spurs team.
LS: Positive stuff!
PM: Why should I be positive? We haven’t won the league in 14 years. What am I going to be positive about?
LS: Yes, but you have had the best manager in the Premier League.
PM: He’s not even the best manager in north London!
LS: Look, you’re a turncoat. Twenty-one years and you have been in the Champions League every year.
PM: But we never won it! One final and all I hear about is our brilliant European record. Do you think Sir Alex Ferguson says, ‘Oh, I didn’t win it for 21 years, what a triumph!’ Do you think Jose Mourinho says, ‘I’ve never won the Champions League and I haven’t won the league in 14 years, look at me, I’m the greatest manager in the Premier League!’? Do me a favour.
We take a look at some of the best North London derby goals from the Premier League era. Watch Arsenal v Tottenham on Saturday from 11.30am, on Sky Sports Premier League.
LS: I think Ferguson and Mourinho would say that Wenger is the best manager in the Premier League.
PM: Utter nonsense.
LS: They would! I’ve worked out why you have the hump with Wenger, I’ll tell you why it is. You’re jealous of him. He’s had a job for 21 years and you’ve been fired a few times, that’s why.
GS: When did you become disillusioned?
PM: For the first eight years of his tenure, until just past the Invincibles season, he was the best manager in world football. He’s the guy that took it to Manchester United, took it to Alex Ferguson and won the league three times in eight years. I loved Arsene Wenger like I’ve never loved a woman in my life. But for 14 years now, we have not competed in the league, we have not qualified for the Champions League at all this season, for the previous eight seasons we were knocked out in the last 16. Wenger is a busted flush. We finished fifth last season, we’ll come fifth or sixth this season.
GS: What if he still genuinely believes he can turn this around? That he’s achieved greatness before and he can bring that back?
PM: Wenger’s lost that edge. When Wenger sold Robin van Persie to let United win the league, that was the moment for me it was over. He sold our captain, our best player, to our immediate rivals. That was the moment for me, Wenger was done.I don’t believe in boasting about qualifying for a competition you never win. Spurs are becoming a top club for the first time in my lifetime.
LS: Woah! Did you hear that? Can you repeat that one more time?
PM: This is agony for me to admit, but they are. They’ve got a great, dynamic manager and a great team. I’m afraid Arsenal fans need to wake up from their stupor and recognise what is happening to our club. We are slinking into long-term mediocrity.
GS: I can see you’re enjoying this, (Lord Sugar) – why do you think Spurs are in such a healthy position?
LS: It’s the manager. Pochettino has put his hallmark on the club. For the first time someone has spent a long time concentrating on the youth. A lot of the past managers I employed didn’t spend too much time observing the young players. Pochettino spends time with the youth. He spots someone, gives them the chance, takes the risk, puts them in.
GS: What does the derby mean to you both personally?
PM: Everything. You can put everything aside and beat Tottenham. It’s still the number one derby in this country, I don’t care what anyone says.
GS: Is this the first half of your cup final on Saturday?
PM: Yes because it’s all we’ve got left. We’re not going to win the Champions League – we’re not even in it. No one cares about the Europa, or the League Cup, and no big club should really prioritise the FA Cup. You’re left with the Premier League, which we have no chance of winning already, and the Champions League, which we are not in. All we have left is to pull one over this lot again.
LS: I don’t disagree with him. We’re riding high, but he’s right. Arsenal will be up for this. Wenger will be up for this, even (Mesut) Ozil and (Alexis) Sanchez, who turn up to training with a sick-note from their mum, saying, ‘Please, Mr Wenger, don’t let the boys play because they have contract-initis!’.
GS: Best derby memories?
PM: The best for me was when Sol Campbell ran out at White Hart Lane in an Arsenal shirt! I remember when Campbell got signed – I couldn’t believe it. I rang my Dad and said, ‘Who’s the captain of Tottenham?’ My Dad’s a lifelong Spurs fan. ‘What do you mean?’ he said, ‘Sol Campbell.’ I said, ‘Dad, what’s your ultimate nightmare?’ ‘Are you about to tell me Sol Campbell has just joined Arsenal?’ I thought I was about to lose him!
LS: Paul Gascoigne’s goal in the FA Cup semi-final, 1991, the free-kick… that was a great moment.
PM: Th 5-0 stuffing at White Hart Lane, December 23, 1978 stands out – this was a Spurs team that had (Ossie) Ardilles, (Glenn) Hoddle – but even better was when we won the league with the famous Invincibles. We were 2-0 up, cruising it, and they equalised with a dodgy last-minute penalty from (Robbie) Keane. They celebrated like they’d won the league. You slipped away in your Rolls-Royce, leaving me in the boardroom with my dad. Everybody leaves, Arsene Wenger walks in with Pat Rice. I said, ‘Can you get me the most expensive bottle of red wine you have and put it on Lord Sugar’s account?’ The four of us sat there on our own for an hour. It was the greatest moment, I think, of my entire life. I could never have loved Wenger more than in that moment and that’s why what’s happening now breaks my heart.
GS: Turning to the current players…
LS: He likes our players. You can see by his chins he likes a ‘Dele’!
GS: If you could only pick one player from the other side to be in your team…
LS: (Theo) Walcott – when he’s on his game and not injured.
PM: I would go for (Mousa) Dembele. Every time I watch Dembele, he runs the midfield, he’s a massive unit and he’s the kind of aggressive powerhouse in midfield that Arsenal have not had since (Patrick) Vieira left. That’s been our problem – we don’t have a general.
I love Kane, he’s brilliant. Wold-class? I think Harry Kane is world-class.
LS: ‘Kane’s brilliant’. There’s a tweet from you that says he’s not a striker. Yes, your words, sir.
PM: I was deluding myself. He has become a world-class striker.
LS: Oh, thank you. Can we have that on record please?
PM: He’s become the kind of player that, fortunately, is so good, Real Madrid or Barcelona will buy him next season. So we don’t have to worry about him much longer.
We did it with Sol Campbell, we can do it again. Kane’s a Gooner. There are pictures of him all over the internet, of him wearing his Arsenal shirt as a kid. He’s a Gooner, and we will get him back. Harry, if you’re watching, come home! You know where you’re welcome. We need you.
GS: Arsenal have two potentially wantaway players – Ozil and Sanchez – whose contracts are running down. They could well go in January…
PM: I’d sell them both in January. I’d take £20m for them rather than nothing in the summer.
GS: (Lord Sugar,) you said yourself it was a sad end to 10 years at Tottenham. What’s going on at Spurs now – they’re not paying top wages, they’ve got a bright young manager, a new stadium – has it brought back some of the joy of the game?
LS: Pochettino has brought back the joy because he has taken young players and not necessarily done it with a chequebook. How long that will last, how long it can be resisted, how long until someone might attract him away… if he’s going to be loyal to the club, he’s going to turn out to be another Bill Nicholson. If he’s going to turn out to be another Arsene Wenger and stay for 20 years, I’ll be delighted.
PM: I look at the Spurs manager now and see the old Wenger – a guy who’s dynamic, hungry, tactically astute. He’s built a team that wants to win. The problem is, he’s Latin. If you’re Pochettino and you get offered the Real Madrid gig, however much you love Tottenham, you’re going to take it. That’s going to be the problem. He’s that good – and if he goes to Real Madrid, he might take Dele Alli or Harry Kane with him. He’s the most important man Tottenham need to keep. He’s the glue and managers can inspire these players to stay.
LS: I agree with him. The only thing I would say is that Daniel Levy has got the boys tied up on contracts. Whatever happens – and I don’t want it to happen – he will do a (Gareth) Bale again; if ever someone’s going to go, we’ll make whoever it is pay through the nose.
GS: Let’s bring it back to the present day. What do you think the significance of the result could be on Saturday?
PM: I think if Tottenham were going to come and beat us comfortably, which they might well do, I think it’s a real statement of intent for Tottenham and another massive nail in Arsene Wenger’s coffin. I don’t think there are many Arsenal fans right now who think Arsenal are a better team than Tottenham and I can’t remember that really in my lifetime. I think they believe there’s been a creeping shift in power over the last two or three years, driven by this young, dynamic manager and a bold, visionary owner.
I don’t think Arsenal will finish in the top four this season from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t think (we’ll finish above Tottenham). It would be a great thing to beat them but the barometer for Arsenal has got to be to win the league or Champions League and all we’re doing is getting further away. I look at Tottenham and they’re getting nearer, nearer, nearer. If they come and stuff us on Saturday, I’m afraid, to me, it’s the final affirmation that Wenger has got to go.
GS: Can Tottenham win the Premier League this season?
LS: It’s possible. I don’t wish to be a downer – that fantastic game against Real Madrid was unbelievable – but then we go and play at Crystal Palace and barely scrape a victory. Teams that come out not to lose against us, we can’t handle, we can’t penetrate. We won but that worries me. Can we win the league? It’s whether United or City lose games.
PM: I think Man City will win the league this season. If their top players stay fit, they look sensational all over the pitch.
GS: It’s been great fun. Would you like to wish each other, with great sincerity, the best of luck?
LS: Oh yes! I wish you all the best, old chap!
PM: I hope we stuff you 4-0!
Watch Arsenal v Tottenham live on Saturday from 11.30am on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event.