Harry Redknapp has a simple solution to the managerial menace that is the radio phone-in. "I switch over and put Magic FM on," the Tottenham Hotspur manager said. "Why would I want to listen to a bunch of idiots? They must have sad lives with nothing better to do."

Sadly for Redknapp and his 19 fellow Premier League managers, there are not enough switches to flick to blot out all of the pressure. He is feeling it at present as he attempts to lead his team to a top-four finish and another instalment of Champions League football and, when he glances over to the visitors' dug-out at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, he will see someone feeling it just as acutely.

Arsène Wenger has resembled a man on the edge in recent weeks, as his Arsenal team have lost in the cups and passed up opportunities in the league. Even he might accept that their title hopes would be officially over if they failed to win the north London derby on what promises to be another highly charged occasion.

Redknapp believes that the pressure is telling on Wenger more obviously than in previous seasons but, if theirs is a relationship shaped by the rivalry between their clubs, then Redknapp, one suspects, would have no qualms about deepening his angst and misery.

"He used to be 'The Professor'," Redknapp said. "I read these articles from all these clever reporters who said he sat there like a chess master. He's watching the game and all the other idiots are jumping up and down, shouting and screaming, and Arsène Wenger sits there studying every move on the pitch. That was the year they went unbeaten. We can all sit there with a cigar when you're winning 3-0, saying 'this is good', with Tony Adams at the back or whatever.

"Suddenly they started losing and he was one of the biggest nutters of all. He's jumping around more than anyone now. That's how it gets you. We all do it. It's pressure."

Redknapp admitted that he felt for Wenger on Sunday when Arsenal conceded a free-kick on the edge of their penalty area in the closing seconds against Liverpool. One-nil up, they merely had to see out the danger to apply the heat on the league leaders, Manchester United. Instead the free-kick looped up off the defensive wall and Emmanuel Eboué conceded a soft penalty for a push on Lucas Leiva, from which Dirk Kuyt equalised.

"What was he going through when Liverpool got that free-kick?" Redknapp said. "I was sitting there thinking, 'My God, I've been there so many times.' It's the worst feeling in the world, waiting for that free-kick. You're either going to be on an all-time low or you think, 'My God, we've won, we've cleared it.' What a feeling. What he must have gone through on Sunday ... it mustn't be good for your health, that's for sure."

Arsenal have often stood accused of psychological brittleness, which deeply irritates Wenger, who maintains that his players have shown outstanding character to contend with the pressure. Redknapp was careful to tiptoe round the subject. "If I said, 'You put Arsenal under pressure and they'll crack,' they would pin that up in the dressing room," he said. Theatrically, he went to the other extreme: "They are a great team with a great manager. I love them all. I love Arsène. Arsène loves me. Everyone loves Arsène, he's a lovable character, isn't he?"

It was clear, though, that Redknapp feels Arsenal may have blown their big chance. "If you asked Arsène ... those home games against Blackburn and Liverpool, when they took only two points," he said. "With an extra four points, they would have been in pole position. I fancied Arsenal strongly. I could see them winning the league. I couldn't see the Carling Cup final result, either. You'd have had your life on Arsenal beating Birmingham at Wembley. Let's hope their bad run continues against us."

Redknapp believes it will only get harder for Arsenal, and indeed his own club, to win the title. "If Man City keep buying top players, they are going to win the Premier League sooner or later," he said. "And I think Liverpool will be up there again. Next year will be harder than this year and this year has been harder than last year."

He broke into an irreverent story about how managers handle the pressure. "I know someone who once lost a big game in the Premier League to two goals in the last minute," Redknapp said. "I saw him on the Sunday and I said, 'God knows how you felt, what did you do last night?' He said, 'I had a great night. We had the karaoke machine out, got a Chinese takeaway and had so-and-so round.' I said to my missus, 'Maybe I am doing it all wrong'."

The unnamed manager feels like the exception. Redknapp and Wenger favour the pit of introspection in defeat. Both of them are desperate for victory tonight.