Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka has said that finishing fourth behind North London rivals Tottenham is enough motivation for the team to end strongly this season. It comes as the near-neighbors continue to compete for a place in the Champions League.
Last season, neither side was able to finish in the qualification places, with Spurs joining the new Europa Conference League and Arsenal missing out outright. Both teams have performed significantly better this season, with Mikel Arteta’s side just about leading the way in fourth place, one point ahead of Antonio Conte’s side with a game in hand.
The Spaniard has sent a message to his players ahead of the final few games of the season, encouraging them to finish the push that began months ago, saying: “For us, this is the defining moment of the season after everything we’ve done, so we want to capitalise on what we’ve done in the last nine or ten months.”
With so much on the line, tensions could flare when the two sides meet in the rescheduled North London derby next week. By the end of the game, it might be a decisive one for both teams.
While the youthful and ambitious Arsenal players are clearly motivated, Saka said that finishing above Tottenham is enough to keep them going. “No, I don’t think there can be anything better [than finishing above Tottenham],” he told BEINSports.
“I don’t believe anything could possibly motivate us more. We’re already motivated, but we don’t want to lose ground to them, so that gives us an extra push. But we realize that if we want to have a chance now, we need to win all of our games, I believe.”
The fate of Arsenal’s season is currently in their hands. It will be up to them to get over the line and secure Champions League football.