Pressure is for tyres, Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal players as derby showdown looms

Mikel Arteta says he expects "the most exciting" north London derby since he was appointed Arsenal manager and demanded his players embrace the significance of Thursday's clash with Tottenham.

Arteta's men make the short trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looking to strengthen their claims of Champions League football for next season and dent hosts Tottenham's own chances of qualifying for Europe's elite club competition.

The Gunners are four points clear of their derby rivals with three games left to play - and victory over Antonio Conte's men will secure a Premier League top-four finish.

Arteta says his players deserve to be in the conversation to end a five-year wait for a return to the Champions League but insisted they must finish the job.

"For me it's not about the pressure," he told reporters.

"It's about having that inner belief that tomorrow is the day and tomorrow we want to achieve what we have earned.

"It's more about excitement and the opportunity and when you have that in football you have to go and deliver and do it.

"That's the mindset we all have for tomorrow."

Arsenal will look to make it five straight wins in the top flight on Thursday - while local rivals Tottenham have lost only one of their last eight in the Premier League.

The fixture has all the hallmarks of a north London classic given what is at stake and Arteta, who replaced Unai Emery in December 2020, has demanded his players rise to the challenge.

"It's the most exciting one, probably," he said.

"The message is clear, if we win against them we are in the Champions League next season.

"You don't need any motivation or to tell them anything more than that. The opportunity is there, we are going to play and go for it like we always do.

"It's how we have got into this position, and it's how we are going to approach it."

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