Mikel Arteta issues warning to his Arsenal players about Tottenham showdown

Mikel Arteta warns his Arsenal players to brace for an "extremely difficult" game against Spurs on Thursday night

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Marco Iacobucci / depositphotos.com)

Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players to keep focused as they prepare for an “extremely difficult” game in Thursday night’s north London derby showdown against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gunners, who are fourth in the table, will travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium having built a four-point lead over the fifth-placed Lilywhites to edge them closer to qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Arsenal were 2-1 winners over Leeds United at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon thanks to two goals from Eddie Nketiah, as Arteta’s men made it four straight wins in the top flight.

The victory allowed the Gunners to pull further clear of Spurs, who were pegged back and held to a 1-1 draw by Liverpool FC at Anfield on Saturday.

Arsenal now head into Thursday night’s crunch clash knowing that a win would secure their place in the top four and a spot in the Champions League.

However, Gunners boss Arteta has warned his side not to underestimate the threat posed by Antonio Conte’s team.

Asked about Thursday’s game in the wake of Arsenal’s victory over Leeds, Arteta said on Sky Sports: “We know that and we have earned the right to play that game in that context.

“We started the season with nine or 10 players out and playing the best two teams in Europe.

“Winning any match is extremely difficult. We are going to prepare for the game as best as can.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s clash, Spurs boss Conte admitted that the fixture is “vital” for the Lilywhites as they look to try and close the gap to Arsenal back to one point with a victory.

Speaking after Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Anfield, Conte said: “On Thursday we have an important game, a vital game and a north London derby against Arsenal, our rival for this race and it’s another game I want to get three points because it will be very important to continue to have hope and to finish in the Champions League.”

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