Mikel Arteta sends a Champions League message to his players ahead of the London derby
Mikel Arteta sends a Champions League message to his players ahead of the London derby

Mikel Arteta sends a Champions League message to his players ahead of the London derby

 

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has urged his players to seize the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League next season.

A win against Tottenham on Thursday will seal a top-four finish for Arsenal and secure them a place in next season’s Champions League.

Arsenal has not played in the Champions League since 2017 and is in a good position to qualify this season.

The Gunners are 4th on the Premier League table four points ahead of Tottenham. A win will mean Arteta’s side is seven points ahead of Tottenham with two matches remaining.

What did Arteta say?

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the London derby he said: “The message is clear, if we win against them we are in the Champions League next season,” Arteta exclaimed.

“You don’t need any motivation or to tell them anything more than that. The opportunity is there, we are going to play and go for it like we always do. It’s how we have got into this position, and it’s how we are going to approach it.”

Meanwhile, former Liverpool player Stan Collymore claims that every game now for Arsenal is like an acid test of their bottle if they want to qualify for the Champions League.

He said: “Every game now for Arsenal is the acid test of their bottle. Last Sunday against Leeds was one and now the North London derby – this is it. 

“When I put out a tweet about being ready to buy Arsenal shirt a couple of weeks ago, a lot of fans still — and this is bearing in mind the run they are on and the fact Mikel Arteta has got them into a good position for fourth and maybe even third — came back saying things along the lines of, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll find a way to **** it up.

“There was only one Arsenal fan in 50-odd comments who said anything other. I know that’s the sort of gallows humor we get from football fans but it was interesting that there weren’t many, ‘Haha, Collymore, you this, that or the other, get the shirt bought, and let’s see you wearing it on Islington High Street. It was all, ‘Nah, we’re not there yet, and that’s because they have almost been conditioned to choke.

“So this is it and I actually hope now that, for the foundations the team has dug for themselves to get to this point, they can go on and give their supporters a run and have performances filled with character. Because as much as I would mock a Granit Xhaka as a yellow or red card machine, to be fair he has stood up to be counted for his team and he is what he is.

“He’s not going to be in a title-winning team but the manager watches him in training and says, ‘You know what, I at least want him in the trenches because he is honest’. The young boys have stepped up and Arteta hasn’t got too high and too low, either.