With Aston Villa still fighting for their Premier League survival, Mikel Arteta knows that his side will need to be at their best on Tuesday night if they are to get anything from the game.
Let’s not deny it, if it hadn’t been for Bernd Leno during the first half of the season, there’s every chance we would be closer to Villa than we are to Spurs. Arsenal have collected just 22 points more than Villa this season. We are also 22 points away from Manchester City, and they didn’t even win the league.
Leno is sixth in the number of Premier League saves made with 113 and he hasn’t played the last six-and-a-half games.
But with Arsenal still hoping to finish as high as possible in the table they will be hoping to build on recent wins over Liverpool and Manchester City and to keep their momentum going ahead of their FA Cup final on 1 August.
As such, Mikel Arteta knows he needs to make sure Arsenal are as focused as Villa, something the Gunners aren’t exactly renowned for.
“Absolutely [Aston Villa have everything to fight for], they have massive urgency because they probably have to win both games to have a chance to survive,” said Arteta.
“When you are in that situation where you are fighting for your lives, they’re going to give absolutely everything. We have to be in the same mood, we have to win both games and wait to have a chance to qualify for Europe and that’s the mood I want [from] everyone involved.”
Villa have lost their last three league games while Arsenal go in on the back of two wins and a draw.
Arsenal have also not lost to Villa since that opening day game at the start of the 2013/2014 season when Anthony Taylor fully introduced himself to Gooners everywhere.