Sunday, 1 September 2013

Arsenal must be competing for more than a top-four place, insists Carl Jenkinson -

Consistency, however, needs support and depth in a squad. Arsenal's lack of investment – with no signings up until this weekend apart from young French striker Yaya Sanogo and the return of Mathieu Flamini for free – has dimmed optimism especially as Spurs have completed a seventh high-profile transfer, that of Ajax's Christian Eriksen.

The understandable perception is that Arsenal have stood still, despite their promises to spend up to £70?million and a raft of high-profile names being linked, while Spurs have rearmed.

And, of course, the two sides meet on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal also affected by an injury crisis that has claimed Lukas Podolski as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta.

Resources are stretched with Jenkinson a likely starter at right-back as Bacary Sagna continues as a makeshift central defender.

"It means an awful lot to me. It is a massive game," Jenkinson says of this encounter.

"It is the first game I look for when the fixture list comes out at the start of the season. I shall be spreading this message throughout the dressing room, in terms of how important it is.

"You don't have to be here long and experience one to realise how important this is to the fans.

"Like I said, I have grown up supporting the club and know the importance of these games. I spread the message and so do the other boys.

"The boys need to be aware of the importance of what it means. That won't be an issue.

"[Last season] It was fantastic. There was an edge as we beat Spurs to fourth place.

"We are in the Champions League and that is where we want to be. We went on a fantastic run at the end of last season and it was great.

"There was a point we realised we would not compete for the title and we wanted to ensure we were playing Champions League football. It was a massive battle to get there and it meant an awful lot to us."

There is hope that the one advantage Arsenal might have, beyond their experience of finishing ahead of their north London neighbours, is that the changes at Spurs may take time to settle down. Almost a new team has been bought, wholly from overseas.

"We have won a lot of games lately, if you include the end of last season," Jenkinson said.

"But Spurs have signed some great players and we cannot kid ourselves. We have to be aware of that."

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