Wenger eyeing critical period for Arsenal

Arsene Wenger sees Saturday's Premier League clash with Tottenham as the start of a crucial run of games for Arsenal.

The Frenchman has guided his team to an unbeaten start in the Premier League, with two wins and three draws from their five outings thus far.

Arsenal have fared less well in the cup competitions, going down 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund in their UEFA Champions League Group D opener, before  a 2-1 defeat to Southampton on Tuesday ended their League Cup campaign in the third round.

Saturday's north London derby at the Emirates Stadium represents a chance to put that disappointment behind them and the clash marks the first of three big games for the club.

After facing Tottenham, Arsenal host Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday before a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on early pacesetters Chelsea next Sunday.

"Our start has been decent but we enter the second block of games now which will be crucial," Wenger said in a press conference on Friday.

"I only have my eye on the next game because it's a massive one but it's true we have an important week.

"North London derbies are always very intense and the players from both sides know each other so well.

"It was a disappointment to go out against Southampton but there will be a completely different team tomorrow."

Wenger confirmed that both Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Flamini were available after knocks, and he believes Saturday's opponents will be more of a force this season after the managerial upheaval at White Hart Lane during the previous campaign.

"It's too early to judge a team but Tottenham will benefit from the stability they will have this season," he said.

"I'm always a fan of stability because the manager carries the values of a club better than anyone else.

"I'm more proud to reach our targets and we've had to compete with Tottenham to get into the Champions League."