Tottenham defender believes the increasing number of other high-profile matches shades the north London showdown and is a measure of Spurs’ progress
It has long been a part of the pre-season ritual. Tottenham’s players and supporters will scan the fixture list and, first and foremost, circle the derby against Arsenal. It is doubtful whether it will ever change, because no opponent can stir the same depth of feeling as the old enemy.
But these days, there is a bigger picture at play and Spurs folk have other highlighting to do, taking in top-four Premier League duels and decisive Champions League dates. The last week or so has seen the domestic visit of Chelsea and a European one from Internazionale. Sunday’s showdown at the Emirates Stadium has lurked in the background – at least until now.