Tension heats up in the capital in the race for Champions League qualification.
Tottenham Hotspur head coach Andre Villas-Boas has responded to Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny’s comments on Monday that Spurs did not have enough quality to be able to compete in next season’s Uefa Champions League.
The two north London rivals, and Champions League holders Chelsea, are all currently locked in a tight three-way battle to finish the campaign in the top four of the Premier League, and with it gain entry into Europe’s premier club competition next season.
At present, third-placed Chelsea lead Arsenal in fourth position by just one point, with fifth-in-the-table Tottenham a further two points adrift of the Gunners, however, Arsene Wenger’s men have played one more match than both of their London rivals, who meet each other at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
But, ahead of that eagerly-anticipated showdown, Villas-Boas has hit back at the Poland international, who himself has only just returned to the Arsenal first team having been dropped earlier this season for being “mentally fatigued”.
“An Arsenal player who has only been at the club for a couple of years is not entitled to so much hatred for Tottenham like he seems to have,” said the Portuguese in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Chelsea fixture.
“I think it would be a little bit more tolerable if it came from a genuine Arsenal fan.
“Coming from an Arsenal player who is only passing through to another club and isn’t going to stay there for life, he doesn’t mean those words from the heart.
“We don’t expect any love from an Arsenal player to a Tottenham. A little lack of respect is normal in a rivalry.”