'I believe in our players' – Arteta backs Arsenal to triumph in top-four race

The Gunners have played a game more than third- and fifth-placed Chelsea and Tottenham but the Spaniard believes that his squad will prevail

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has backed the Gunners to clinch a top-four finish and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Arsene Wenger’s side have won 10 of their last 13 Premier League games to close a seven-point gap between themselves and north London rivals Tottenham and currently occupy the final qualification spot for Europe’s premier club competition.

Spurs, who lie two points further back in fifth spot, were held by Wigan on Saturday and Arteta believes that those who show the stronger mental strength will reap the rewards at the end of the season.

“It will come down to nerve and be about who is the most clinical at the right moments,” the midfielder told The Guardian. “When it gets to the last games, the teams who are the most clinical win. We have seen that over the last few weeks.

“It will be a battle for everyone. There is pressure on us like there is for the other teams. Every team in the Premier League is playing for something – relegation or Europe. It will be interesting.”

Arsenal have just three games left to play – with Tottenham and third-placed Chelsea facing each other in their game in hand – and are set to face the already demoted QPR and the relegation-threatened Wigan and Newcastle.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have a seemingly harder run-in against the likes of Manchester United and Everton, while Spurs will also face off against Southampton, Stoke City and Sunderland.

“I believe in our players but we have to show we can do it,” Arteta continued. “It is easy saying we have a better chance but it is up to us to do it on the pitch. Every game is difficult and anything can happen. We have to play for that.”

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