‘This is why we’re here’: Mikel Arteta makes admission about Tottenham v Arsenal
Mikel Arteta admits the race for Champions League qualification could come down to Arsenal's clash with Tottenham next month
Mikel Arteta has admitted that the race for Champions League qualification could come down to a straight shootout between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in their game next month.
Arsenal moved above their local rivals on Saturday thanks to their 3-1 victory over Manchester United at The Emirates, with Spurs missing the chance to reclaim fourth spot following their goalless draw at Brentford later in the day.
As things stand, the Gunners are currently fourth in the table and two points ahead of Tottenham with five games left to play this season.
Arsenal will take on West Ham United away from home next weekend, while Spurs will face Leicester City in front of their home fans.
The north London derby clash between Arsenal and Tottenham on Thursday 12 May could end up being decisive in the race for Champions League qualification.
And Arteta admits that the game may well carry some extra significance in the race for Champions League qualification.
Asked whether the north London derby could decide the top four, Arteta replied: “It could be a crucial game. Let’s see what happens before that, where both teams are, but of course, that head-to-head game is going to be really, really important.
“This is why we are here, to play big matches that can define big moments and that’s the beauty of this game.”
When asked about how the top-four race is shaping up as a whole, and whether it now only includes Tottenham and Arsenal, Arteta added: “I don’t know. This changes so quickly, but my belief is that we’re going to give it a real go, we can win football matches, but the margins are very small and we have to be very aware of that.
“Winning and losing in this league and where we are today, is defined by the small margins, so everything has to be there to take the game where we want at the end of the 95 minutes.”
Arsenal have not finished in the top four since the 2015-16 season under Arsene Wenger.