Saturday's match will be the first time that the local rivals have met since Tottenham ended a 22-year wait to finish above the Gunners, while Spurs are also three places and four points better off than Arsenal in the current standings.
Wenger acknowledged the progress Tottenham have made and tipped Pochettino for a bright future in his pre-match press conference, and the Argentine has now returned the compliment by describing his opposite number as "special".
"Arsenal are a great team. For me, there is no favourites in this type of game. He is a fantastic manager. I respect him a lot and admire him," he told reporters.
"In a derby its difficult to see a favourite. If you see the history Arsenal were above Tottenham and he deserves a lot of credit for that. To stay in a club five years is because you are a good manager, if you stay 10 years it's because you must be very good.
"To stay more than 20 years you must be special. I admire him a lot. He is a very special manager but of course he knows better than what a derby always is. In the last 22 years we have finished above Arsenal only one time, it's a massive challenge for us to stay ahead of them."
Spurs are unbeaten in their last six Premier League meetings with Arsenal.