Tottenham ‘extra motivated’ by Arsenal title charge in key north London derby showdown

Tottenham ‘extra motivated’ by Arsenal title charge in key north London derby showdown

Ben Davies has described Arsenal's position in the table as "extra motivation" for Tottenham in the north London derby and says they are viewing Sunday's game and the subsequent double-header against Manchester City as a chance to close the gap to the top two.

With second-place City visiting Manchester United, who are fourth, on Saturday, this weekend could potentially be pivotal in the race for the title and top four.

Premier League leaders Arsenal are aiming to open a 14-point gap to Spurs with a first win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and, after Sunday's game, Antonio Conte's side visit City next Thursday and host the champions on February 5.

"When you play against the big teams you can look at it in two ways: you can either look at it as being tough or as an opportunity to bounce up the table and that's the way we want to see it," Davies said. "[Arsenal's form] is just extra motivation for us, they're playing well.

"They look like a very good side at the moment. They're giving every team they play against tough games but we just want to focus on ourselves right now and hopefully at the end of the season we're there or thereabouts.

Extra motivation: Ben Davies insists Spurs will not be intimidated by Arsenal’s title form (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Extra motivation: Ben Davies insists Spurs will not be intimidated by Arsenal’s title form (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

"Clearly, what [Arsenal boss, Mikel] Arteta has done there has been very good but I'm sure there were very tough times for him as well when things weren't going their way. So credit to the club for sticking by him, it seems to be paying dividends."

Spurs beat the Gunners to fourth place last season after finding form in the second half of the campaign when they were out of Europe, with Conte acknowledging that his side struggled when they did not have a full week to prepare for matches.

Their performances were underwhelming in the first half of the campaign when they played every three days but Davies believes they will benefit from a rare week working with Conte ahead of Arsenal's visit.

"We're having a week of preparation now where we're buzzing and looking forward to the game," said the Wales international. "When we do have the time on the training pitch, we have a world-class manager who can really whip us into shape when we have that time. The week's work can hopefully help us out when we play.

"Whenever you have time on the training pitch, your ideas will become more clear. You'll become probably technically better knowing this is our plan going into the game. It's more about the time that we get and we know that in football now, with games every three days, it's not always easy to do that."