Santi Cazorla issues rallying cry to Arsenal ahead of north London derby
The Gunners travel to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham this weekend
Friday 01 March 2013
Santi Cazorla has challenged his Arsenal team-mates to rise to the challenge of beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday and blow the race for Champions League qualification wide open again.
Spurs moved up into the third place in the Barclays Premier League after Gareth Bale's superb stoppage-time goal secured a hard-fought 3-2 win at West Ham on Monday night.
However, should Arsenal - who are unbeaten in five league matches, winning three in a row - secure victory on enemy territory this weekend, the gap would be reduced to just one point.
Cazorla netted both goals in last weekend's 2-1 win over Aston Villa, which kept the Gunners within striking distance of the top four, now just two points behind Chelsea.
The Spain playmaker has confidence Arsene Wenger's men can maintain momentum with a strong display against their fierce rivals.
"It is very important, not just because it is a great rivalry or that it is Tottenham versus Arsenal, but the fact that they're a side with great players who are fighting with us for a top-four spot," Cazorla said on the club's official website, http://www.arsenal.com.
"To beat them and get into the top four and the Champions League, which is our aim for the season, is essential.
"We know how important it is and I hope we can rise to the challenge."
Right-back Bacary Sagna has been ruled out with his ongoing ankle problem, so Carl Jenkinson could again be asked to step in.
Wenger, though, is hopeful combative midfielder Abou Diaby will be available to add a physical presence to the Gunners midfield.
It has been some 18 years since Spurs last finished above the Gunners in the league, and Diaby is all too aware of just what this match means for everyone involved.
"We all look forward to these big games because they are not only important to us, but to the club and the fans. It is more than a game," Diaby told Arsenal Player.
"The atmosphere around the game means we all want to win, so that makes it very exciting. That is why I think there are so many goals."
Diaby feels Arsenal can use their 5-2 victory over a 10-man Spurs at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season as leverage when the battle lines are drawn again at White Hart Lane this weekend.
"It will be difficult because they play at their ground and have the crowd supporting them, but we just have to deal with that," the France international added.
"Of course [we have a psychological edge] because from the last game against them we took some lessons and we know them well.
"We know how to deal with them."
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