Shots fired: Pochettino questions Arsenal ahead of North London Derby

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Mauricio Pochettino has questioned Arsenal ahead of Saturday’s massive North London Derby.

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Tottenham Hotspur’s manager watched on from the sidelines on Wednesday as Spurs crashed to a 1-0 defeat at West Ham United on his 44th birthday.

[ MORE: Arsenal, Spurs cracking up? ]

The Argentine coach was upbeat afterwards, failing to blame nerves for Spurs’ poor performance, and during his pre-game presser on Thursday he somewhat lashed out at Arsenal — who after losing to Swansea on Wednesday have recorded three-straight games for the first time since 2010.

[ MORE: 3 things from West Ham-Spurs ]  

Asked if Arsenal’s players have more experience would give them the edge in the title race, here’s what Pochettino had to say.

“If they have players that have the advantage to win the title, what happened against Manchester United or Swansea [both matches that Arsenal lost]?” Pochettino said. “We are capable of beating Manchester City away, against West Ham [the 1-0 defeat] was difficult but sometimes we use a lot of topics in football. Football is simple, not too complicated.”

Mauricio, tell us how you really feel.

Perhaps Tottenham’s boss was feeling a little feisty after seeing his side put in a lackluster performance in a big London derby. Perhaps he was merely highlighting the fact that West Ham — just one-point off the top four after that victory — is actually a very good team and Spurs had an off-day which could happen.

Regardless, Pochettino doesn’t seem to think experience will play a factor in the pressure-cooker atmosphere at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Without Petr Cech — who injured his groin late on in the defeat to Swansea — Arsenal will be without the only player in their current squad who has actually won the Premier League. That will be a huge blow.

As for Arsenal, they’ll enter the encounter in third spot and three points behind second-place Spurs and according to DirectTV Sports, the star attacker Alexis Sanchez admits they’re struggling to gain the “self-belief” needed to win the Premier League.

“We lack self-belief, that we can actually be champions,” Sanchez said. “I think we can win the Premier League with the players we have. That said, we lack a certain hunger. We need to step out onto the pitch as if we’re already 1-0 up.”