By Nick Ames

Robin van Persie believes that the impetus has swung firmly Arsenal’s way in the battle for an automatic Champions League berth and says that Chelsea's clash with Tottenham is perfectly timed.

Speaking in his captain’s notes for Saturday's Official Matchday Programme, the Dutchman says that the prospect of fellow contenders dropping points is an exciting one – provided that Arsenal do the business against Aston Villa.

"In the battle for third place the momentum is ours now, we are winning games and the other teams are dropping points,” said Van Persie.

"They have tough fixtures coming up too because Chelsea meet Spurs this Saturday. From our point of view, for those two to play each other at this moment is fantastic because we know one of them - or even both of them - will definitely drop points.

“So we have to win against Villa to take advantage of that. If we have to win ugly, then let's do that. It's part of our job too. We have shown great character in the last few weeks, so why not do it every week now?

“You can see that the mentality has changed lately,” he added.

“Twice we have had to come back from very hard periods this season - at the start of the season after losing at Old Trafford, then recently when we lost to AC Milan and Sunderland.

“After those two games everyone was thinking this is going from bad to worse, because our next fixtures were Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan, Newcastle and Everton - but we won them all.”

  • You can read Robin's captain notes in Saturday's Official Matchday Programme. Subscribe here or call 0207 535 7224.
Copyright 2014 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 Mar 2012