For every football fan the prospect of finishing above your local rivals in the league is of paramount importance every season.

However, for those who support Arsenal or Tottenham this season is about more than local bragging rights.

The prospect of Champions League football is at the forefront of both teams' minds as they enter the business end of the season, with only four points separating third-placed Tottenham from fifth-placed Arsenal.

The financial rewards of playing in Europe's top club competition is of particular importance to both clubs this season; in terms of keeping current players, the potential for buying new ones, and even the reputation of both managers.

Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood told Sky Sports that Arsenal would have enough money in the summer to compete with most teams for players. 

Should Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, however, then money will almost certainly not be enough to attract top players from around the world; many top players see Champions League football as a prerequisite to signing for a new club.

The balance of Tottenham's squad is equally dependent on attaining Champions League football; even the most fervent Spurs fan would be hard-pushed to criticise Gareth Bale if Spurs finished outside the top four and he left the club.

Arsene Wenger has come under some criticism this season and he, more than most people, must recognise the importance of his side finishing in the Champions League places.

Similarly, Andre Villas-Boas is under pressure to perform after former manager Harry Redknapp was shown the door following Spurs' failure to qualify for this season's competition.

As such, Sunday's game represents a potential turning point not only in the seasons of both teams, but also their long-term future. 

With this setting in place the two London rivals will enter the field with more at stake than has been seen for many years, and maybe many more to come.

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