'It's going to be special' – David Luiz excited by first North London Derby
The Brazil international defender has met Spurs 13 times before in his career, but Sunday will be the first time as an Arsenal player
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Coming up against Tottenham is nothing new to David Luiz.
Since he first arrived in England in 2011, the Brazilian centre-back has taken on Spurs 13 times, winning eight of those games and losing just twice.
But this weekend is different. It’s not just the first North London Derby of the season on Sunday at the Emirates, it’s the first one of Luiz’s career.
And the 32-year-old, who left Chelsea to move to Arsenal on transfer deadline day earlier this month, admits it’s a game that he can’t wait to be involved in.
“It’s going to be special for me for sure,” said the former Blues defender.
“It’s always special to play football. I play football because I love football. That’s why I’m still playing, that’s why I still have ambition and try to do big things in football.”
Both teams go into Sunday’s meeting at the Emirates Stadium on the back of their first defeat of the new season.
Arsenal were beaten 3-1 at Liverpool on Saturday before Newcastle snatched a shock 1-0 success at Spurs 24 hours later.
Victory this weekend would see the Gunners open up a five point lead on their neighbours, who boss Mauricio Pochettino admits have been unsettled by the fact that the European transfer window is still open.
Doubts over the futures of key players such as Christian Eriksen have cast a shadow over the opening weeks of the new campaign at Tottenham, and Arsenal will be looking to take advantage of that on Sunday.
But Luiz knows they will have to be at their best to earn what will be a third successive home league victory in the North London derby.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” said the Gunners centre-back. “But I’m looking forward to that. When you lose a game, you want to play a game tomorrow if it’s possible.
“So we are going to work hard. It’s going to be another tough, tough game against a fantastic team, who have signed new players, amazing players.
“So it’s up to us to try to do our game, especially at home and win the game.”
Last weekend’s defeat at Anfield was a frustrating one for Arsenal, who saw early chances go begging before being overpowered by the European champions.
Luiz gave away a costly penalty early in the second half which allowed Liverpool to double their lead on their way to a 3-1 success and was also beaten by Mohamed Salah in the build up to the third goal.
So he knows the spotlight will be on him this Sunday against Spurs, but he is adamant that a derby is the perfect game to respond well to the setback on Merseyside.
“I think there is no better opportunity than that,” he said. We are going to play at home against a fantastic team, against a team who are going to fight with us until the end for the same goals, the same objectives.
“So we’re going to do our best to win.”