Mikel Arteta focused on top-four finish

Arsenal's Mikel Arteta shoots from the penalty spot on December 22, 2012
© PA Photos
Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta believes that the Gunners cannot afford to finish outside the top four this season.

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has insisted that securing Champions League qualification must remain the club's priority this season.

The Gunners are in FA Cup action against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday before facing Bayern Munich at the Emirates next week.

Arteta admits that Arsenal have their work cut out to overhaul Tottenham Hotspur and finish in the top four but still believes that they have enough quality to achieve their goals.

He told the club's official website: "I think that 10 seasons ago it was not as difficult to get into the top four as it is now. At the moment there are six or seven teams who can get there and that says a lot about the improvement of English football.

"For me, no other League in Europe has the level of the top five or six teams in England. But qualification is massive for us. We can't be out of the Champions League because it is the best competition. This is the month where everything can look brighter or look really bad for the end of the season.

"But we are looking OK now and we have players hitting top form. The Spurs game is a big derby. This one is at their place and it could be decisive. We believe we have the quality to be where we deserve to be and we will fight until the end to get there."

Arsene Wenger's side are currently four points behind Spurs in the final Champions League spot.

Mikel Arteta celebrates his second penalty against West Brom on December 8, 2012
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