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Feb 3, 2012

Arteta: Finishing in top four will be tough

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal face an uphill challenge to qualify for the Champions League this season but believes he and his team-mates are good enough to finish in the top four.

• Gunners sweat on Oxlade-Chamberlain
• Preview: Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers
• Wilshere remains upbeat over injury
• Blog: That unfamiliar sinking feeling

The Gunners are currently five points off fourth-placed Chelsea and with Wednesday night's draw at Bolton meaning they have failed to win a league game yet in 2012, many are doubting the Champions League credentials of Arsene Wenger's side.

However, Arteta is confident that Arsenal have the necessary fortitude to secure their place at European football's top table for a 14th successive year and insists they are ready to get their Premier League campaign back on track against Blackburn this weekend.

"Hopefully we will get the points on Saturday because we really need them as we have been losing too many in the last few weeks,' Arteta said. "We should win the game, like we should have won against Bolton.

"However, Blackburn will make it tough because they are in a relegation battle and you know how hard a team works in that situation.

"It (the race for a top-four place) is going to be tough. We have the talent and quality in the side, but we have to show it game by game. I am confident because we train together every day and I know how good we are, but we have to show it every week not every two or three weeks.''

Meanwhile, Arteta's team-mate Per Mertesacker has challenged the Gunners to lay down an early marker with victory over Rovers.

"It is an early game and as we are one of the first teams (to play), so we have to go for three points to show the other teams we are there,'' he said. "We are always looking for clean sheets and good performances.

"We created good chances to score at Bolton, but it wasn't enough. There is a lot of room for improvement. We have a very good side with lots of potential but we have to be good on the pitch and we have to use our opportunities.''

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