“Sunday for us was a big reality check in a way,” said Arsenal boss Unai Emery on the defeat to Southampton. Photo: Nigel French/PA via AP

LONDON – Arsenal manager Unai Emery urged his players to show passion in Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final meeting with rivals Tottenham just weeks after a league match between the two sides turned ugly.

The Gunners sealed a 4-2 victory over their north London neighbours in the Premier League fixture on December 2 in a match that had several flashpoints.

Eric Dier equalised for the visitors at the Emirates Stadium, before his finger-to-lips celebration sparked a fracas between the two sets of players.

There were also several arrests made among the supporters, with a Tottenham fan handed a four-year football ban and fine for throwing a banana skin towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he celebrated his opening goal in front of the away fans.

Despite those incidents, Emery wants emotions to be running high when the two sides meet again so soon after his first taste of the north London derby.

“I said to you that I think showing emotion is very important,” he said.

“I think football is emotion. In a derby, maybe this emotion is greater. When you win, it’s amazing, when you lose, it’s horrible. Respect is very important.

“We can show this emotion with respect when we are playing, but also when they scored against us, they can show their emotion with their supporters.

“But with respect. We need to show this emotion when we are playing, when we are winning, because I think football needs this passion.”

Arsenal take on Spurs after their 22-match unbeaten run came to an end at Southampton on Sunday.

Emery, who was without a host of defensive options on the south coast and still has a number of selection headaches ahead of Wednesday’s match, believes the defeat will motivate his players to improve heading into Christmas.

“Sunday for us was a big reality check in a way,” he added. “We need to improve, and also we need to continue doing our way in our process.

“It’s not a good result, but this reality gives us more motivation to continue to work hard, find a new thing to work on each day, and also it makes us demand a lot from ourselves.”

AFP