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Arteta Challenges Arsenal To ‘Raise The Bar’ In Spurs Showdown

Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal to “raise the bar” as the Premier League leaders prepare for a defining moment in the title race against north London rivals Tottenham.

Arteta’s side make the short journey to Spurs on Sunday looking to keep title rivals Manchester City at bay with a vital victory.

The Gunners are one point clear of second-placed City, who have a game in hand and will kick off at Nottingham Forest soon after the final whistle in north London.

After a damaging home defeat against Aston Villa, Arteta’s team have bounced back by winning at Wolves and crushing Chelsea 5-0 on Tuesday.

But the Arsenal boss is well aware of the threat posed by fifth-placed Tottenham, who drew 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium in September, and he called on his players to find another gear this weekend.

“Enjoy the moment, and try to navigate things in a natural way. Tottenham are super-competitive at the moment. There is one thing to do in this situation, compete, compete, compete,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.

“It’s a really good sign because we know what we are going to have to do to win it and we have to raise the bar to match that.”

City responded to Arsenal’s emphatic win against Chelsea by crushing Brighton 4-0 on Thursday.

Pep Guardiola’s side will be crowned champions for an unprecedented fourth successive season if they win their last five games.

But Arteta is not concerned about his former club’s results, preferring to ensure his team are focused on their own performances.

“It’s another game that they managed to win in a convincing way, something that we cannot control. Let’s do what we have to do,” he said.

“You have to show it every season, every game, and in this league that’s extremely difficult to do.

“We are going to do everything we can to win it and if we do win it, we are going to try to win it again. If we don’t, for sure we will try again.”

Arsenal are hoping to win the title for the first time in 20 years after blowing an eight-point lead to gift City the trophy last season.

Arsenal famously won the league twice at Tottenham’s old White Hart Lane stadium, in 1971 and 2004.

The Gunners cannot clinch silverware on enemy territory this time, but a victory would keep them in the title hunt while damaging Tottenham’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish.

“You know what you can give to your people, which is a lot of joy and happiness if we manage to win the game,” Arteta said.

“Obviously when you have the chance to do that and that’s in your hand, you really want to make the most of it to try and make it happen.”

AFP

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