Mikel Arteta says it is essential for Arsenal to keep their focus as the season nears its climax, and not waste their chance of a third place finish in the Premier League.

The Spanish midfielder is confident he and his teammates can maintain their current momentum until the end of the 2011-12 campaign, in order for Arsene Wenger's side to see off the challenge of north London rivals Tottenham in fourth spot.

Arteta has emphasised the importance of finishing in the automatic qualification places for next year's Champions League, and having moved five points clear of Spurs after last night's impressive 3-0 win over Wolves at Molineux, the Gunners are in pole position to achieve their goal.

"Third place gives you direct access to the Champions League," he told Arsenal's official website. "It's really important. It's been a big fight; we have come all the way through from the back.

"We've put in a big effort, we are in a strong position now and we don't want to waste it. We had a setback at QPR and it says a lot for our spirit that we came straight back."

After a poor start to the campaign, Arsenal's pre-season aspirations looked to have gone up in a puff of smoke, but the fighting spirit and determination shown by the players, who have stuck together in the face of adversity, has shined through.

Seven consecutive Premier League victories, and nine in the club's last ten games, has propelled them back towards the top end of the table, the place where Arsenal truly belong.

"Everyone was saying we were in trouble again because Newcastle look really strong," Arteta continued. "Chelsea have been winning and I'm sure they'll be there until the end.

"It will be a big fight and I think it will go right until the end. There are some big games ahead. Everyone must play each other; we've got Chelsea here and have got to go to Stoke so it can change again."

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