By Nick Ames
Arsenal must beat Tottenham on Sunday to have a realistic chance of catching them this season, according to Robin van Persie.
Harry Redknapp's team head to Emirates Stadium this weekend and are on course to finish above their local rivals in the Premier League for the first time since 1995.
Arsenal have a 10-point gap to bridge but Van Persie can't think of a team he'd rather face on the back of those disappointing defeats in Milan and Sunderland.
“What better way to set things straight again than to beat Spurs?" the captain told the Official Matchday Programme. "I’d rather be playing them now than on any other day, and we know that a win is absolutely vital.
"I don’t think anybody would deny that Spurs have a really good side – and they’ve added consistency this season. They’re winning the tougher games and, as a result, have made that next step towards the top teams.
"Spurs have invested a lot of money over the past few years, and when you look at the figures it’s reflected in their league position.
"Quality players like Van der Vaart, Adebayor, Bale, Modric and Lennon will win you games when the going gets difficult - any one of them can step up and make the difference at a given time."
Van Persie has set his side the dual target of drawing nearer to Spurs while pulling away from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle.
“They’re above us for the first time in many years but it’s in our hands to change the way things are going, win the game and start moving closer to them,” he said.
“A draw will not be a good result for us [on Sunday], either in our bid to catch up with Spurs or in our efforts to fight off our other challengers for a Champions League place.”
Read Robin's full captain's notes in Sunday's Official Matchday Programme. Click here to subscribe.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 24 Feb 2012