Santi Cazorla knows Arsenal can take a major step towards securing a top-four place by winning at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The Gunners are fifth in the Premier League, four points behind Tottenham, but have beaten their rivals 5-2 in their past two derby matches.
Cazorla is looking forward to facing Andre Villas-Boas’ side and says claiming three points would have a major impact on the rest of the campaign.
“It’s very important, not just because it is a great rivalry or that it’s Tottenham versus Arsenal, but the fact that they’re a side with great players who are fighting with us for a top-four spot,” he told Arsenal Player.
“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.
“Like everyone else, I’m really looking forward to the match against Tottenham and I hope we can achieve our goal of fighting for a Champions League spot. It’s going to be a really difficult game but a great match to watch.”
Cazorla scored in his first north London derby in November, and he says it was one of the highlights of his Arsenal career so far.
“The week before we played Tottenham at home, I kept being told how we had to beat them because they were ‘the rival’ and our neighbours,” he said. “I’d never experienced such a great derby before and it was fantastic to be part of it.
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“It was a good all-round performance. As you know, Adebayor’s sending off made it easier for us as they had already gone ahead. It was tough, but facing 10 men for the majority of the game allowed us to beat them.
“I remember the game well: I scored and it was my first derby. It was also a great victory for the fans. I hope things go the same way as that game!”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 27 Feb 2013