Mikel Arteta has asserted that his side are excited to play their rivals in the North London derby as they aim to secure a victory and seal their place in the Champions League for the 2022-23 campaign. Arsenal took a step closer to finishing in a top-four spot as they beat Leeds on Sunday.
Arsenal hosted Leeds at the Emirates Stadium as they aimed to make a strong end to the campaign by finishing in a Champions League qualifying spot. The Gunners got off to a bright start as Eddie Nketiah capitalized on Illan Meslier's failure to control a backpass and turned the ball home in the 5th minute.
The Englishman who had spent time on loan at Leeds in 2019-2020 came back to haunt his former side soon after as Nketiah added to his tally five minutes later as he diverted a Gabriel Martinelli cross home to double his side's lead. Things went from bad to worse for Leeds when Luke Ayling was shown a straight red card for a bad challenge on Martinelli after a VAR check.
Arsenal rallied hard to get the third goal of the game but it was Diego Llorente who slotted the ball home in the 66th minute to provide a glimmer of hope to his side. Despite some nervy minutes, the Gunners emerged victorious and now sit four points clear off Tottenham in fourth place and move to a single point behind Chelsea in third.
The Gunners play Tottenham on Thursday in a momentous fixture to seal their spot in the Champions League and Arteta expressed his excitement for the derby.
“We are going to go for that match with the same enthusiasm that we always do but knowing that this can be a defining moment. It can be another layer of motivation for us to really go for it. I can’t wait for the game. We have earned the right to play that game in that context. We started the season with nine or 10 players out and playing the best two teams in Europe,” Arteta told reporters after the game.