• Premier League

AVB: Arsenal on a 'negative spiral'

ESPN staff
March 3, 2013 « Van der Walt fends off the pack for maiden title | Chartbeat test »

Andre Villas-Boas is confident Tottenham will not throw away the seven-point advantage they now hold over Arsenal, after beating their arch-rivals on Sunday.

Two goals in just over two first half minutes from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon sealed victory for Andre Villas-Boas's side, but Arsenal put them under pressure after Per Mertesacker's header flicked off Bale and into the net.

The win saw Tottenham jump above Chelsea into third and open up a seven-point gap between themselves and the Gunners with just ten games remaining. Villas-Boas acknowledged the importance of the victory but knows it will mean little if his team fail to build on the result.

"It was very very important for what it means, but obviously nothing is finished yet,'' the Portuguese told Sky Sports.

"We have to believe that we still have to fight hard. Arsenal have to play Man City, we have to play Liverpool (next weekend). We to try to profit from another important fixture and keep doing our job. It is important we gather as many points as we can to finish where we want to be.'

"What we think is it can have a direct effect on their motivation - on ours too, obviously. But particularly on them because the difference from last year is we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are in a negative spiral in terms of results - and to be out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult."

Arsenal finished strongly last season to pip Tottenham to third, with Chelsea's Champions League triumph ensuring the White Hart Lane outfit missed out on this season's competition.

"Last year, by this time, Arsenal made the difference of seven points to Tottenham and we know how it finished,'' Villas-Boas added. "Motivations are now different. We are extremely confident.

"They are on a low at the moment. We have to continue to do our job.''

The derby win could be "massive" in their push for Champions League football, added defender Michael Dawson.

"It's massive to go seven points clear, in a north London derby, to get three points is massive but we have a long way to go, but it is a good day,'' Dawson said.

"We have a great squad and we showed that today. It probably wasn't our best performance. We didn't keep the ball like we know we can but showed great determination and we got the three points we deserved.

"We want to be back in the Champions League. I think we showed that in the celebrations after. The fans will go home happy and have the bragging rights at work tomorrow.''

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