Watch out Arsenal, Spurs' blip is over… Chelsea performance proves it, says Bale
15:30 GMT, 26 March 2012
Gareth Bale has warned Arsenal that Tottenham have turned a corner and are determined to beat their north London rivals in the battle for third place.
Tottenham held a 12-point lead over Arsenal in February but a winless run of five matches means Harry Redknapp's team now trail the Gunners by three points with eight matches of the Barclays Premier League season remaining.
Many feared Spurs were sliding out of the race for the top four after failing to beat Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Stoke, but there were big signs of encouragement for fans of the north London club when they earned a creditable 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Saturday.
Back in the groove: A Tottenham should have taken the points at Stamford Bridge
Tottenham just shaded the encounter at Stamford Bridge, where they have not won for 22 years, and Bale hopes that result can spur his team back on to winning ways, starting with what promises to be an emotional FA Cup quarter-final clash against Bolton tomorrow night.
'We haven't been at our best in the last month so it was vitally important that we put in a good performance and got a positive result at Stamford Bridge,' Bale told Spurs TV Online.
'Now hopefully we can get back to winning in the next game and then kick on and get that third spot.
'We need Arsenal to lose now so we can get back on level terms. The lads all know we have stopped the rot now. I think we have had our blip now and now we can look forward to some positive results and get back where we belong.'
Spurs will hope to get back to winning ways in the league on Sunday when they welcome Swansea to White Hart Lane, but first they must overcome the difficult hurdle of beating Bolton in their rescheduled FA Cup quarter-final tomorrow.
Nine days ago the original encounter was abandoned after 41 minutes following the on-pitch cardiac arrest of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba.
Heads up: Tottenham had a number of chances – one effort from Bale came off the crossbar
The football world has united to get behind the 23-year-old as he continues to make a steady recovery that seemed highly improbable when he was rushed to hospital amid horrifying scenes at the north London ground.
There will be a minute's applause before tomorrow night's game and players from both sides will sign their shirts afterwards and auction them on ebay, with the proceeds going to the London Chest Hospital, where Muamba is being treated, and three charities.
Redknapp himself admitted Muamba's collapse had 'knocked him flat', but he also knows what is at stake on the pitch on Tuesday night.
'It (the FA Cup) is a big thing for us, definitely,' said Redknapp, who won the competition with Portsmouth in 2008.
'I'd be bitterly disappointed if we didn't make the semi-final now. It's a game we want to win.
Spurred on: Spurs have plenty to do to secure Champions League berth
'We want Champions League football but also I want an FA Cup final. I want to win the cup and qualify for the Champions League as well. That's the aim.'
Redknapp said following Saturday's derby that he intends to 'freshen up' his team up for the visit of the Trotters, which means the likes of Carlo Cudicini, Ryan Nelsen, Jermain Defoe and Danny Rose could all start for Spurs.
Winger Aaron Lennon has trained all weekend as he attempts to overcome the hamstring injury which has sidelined him for the last three weeks and could also feature.
Captain Ledley King, who rested on Saturday, could also return.