Arteta ready to face Spurs challenge in top-four race

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has backed his side to pip north London rivals Tottenham to fourth place as the battle to qualify for the Champions League looks to go all the way.

The Gunners were briefly leapfrogged by Spurs after Antonio Conte’s side beat Leicester earlier on Sunday, but Arteta’s team responded with a 2-1 win at West Ham to end the weekend back in fourth.

Arsenal are two points clear of Tottenham with four games remaining, with one of those fixtures a pivotal north London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 12.

What did Arteta say about Arsenal’s Champions League hopes?

Arsenal were far from their fluid best at London Stadium, but goals in each half from centre-backs Rob Holding and Gabriel were enough to secure all three points.

It was also enough to guarantee a return to continental competition of some description next season, though Arteta is aiming for a spot in the Champions League.

“You have to find a way to win and today we won ugly,” Arteta told BBC Sport. “We have to recognise that is the way we had done it.

“We showed incredible spirit because when we could play the way we wanted to play we had to find a way to play the way they prefer. We adapted. You have to find a way to win all the time - forcing mistakes, being brilliant, digging in, clean sheets.

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“I am really happy, especially for Rob Holding as he hasn’t played the amount of minutes he deserves. He was man of the match today. He is always there when we need him.""

Asked whether the race for the top four could go all the way, the Spaniard added: “Let’s see. Another seven days to prepare for the match. The pressure is there and we both won so let’s go.”

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