• Premier League

Bale: Arsenal are No. 2 in North London

ESPN staff
February 24, 2013
Gareth Bale says Arsenal are below Spurs on merit © Getty Images

Gareth Bale claims Tottenham are now the dominant force in North London, claiming his team now have a "stronger squad" than Arsenal.

Bale and his Spurs team-mates currently sit in fourth position in the Premier League table, one point above fifth-placed Arsenal. However, Monday's clash against West Ham will provide the opportunity for Andre Villas-Boas' men to go four clear, and Bale says it is no less than Spurs deserve.

"I think five or 10 years ago Arsenal were always miles ahead of Tottenham. But that has changed in recent years," he told the Sun.

"Over the past few seasons we have closed that gap and I think now we have overtaken them on the pitch. I think we have the stronger squad. Hopefully we can continue to do that as a club off the pitch as well, with the new stadium that is being built.

"But on the pitch and as a team now we are a lot more consistent and as a club we're moving in the right direction. Arsenal may say they are still ahead of us. But whatever people's opinions I don't think anyone can deny we are up there fighting with them on merit now."

The two clubs will meet next Sunday in a fixture that could determine who will claim a valuable Champions League berth for next season. Last week, reports claimed Bale was close to moving to the Emirates from Southampton in 2007, but the left winger insists such speculation is wide of the mark.

"I don't remember Arsenal being interested in me, to be honest. But anyhow it wouldn't have made a difference as I made my choice to come to Tottenham on footballing decisions.

"I thought they were a club on the up and while other clubs wanted me to start off in the reserves, Tottenham said they wanted me to challenge for a first-team place right away. And that was the most important thing for me."

After scoring 21 goals for club and country this campaign, Bale has earned comparisons to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. But the Wales international says he must improve to reach Ronaldo's level.

"It's obviously flattering that I am playing well enough to be compared to him. All I can do is keep working hard on my game.

"How do I think we compare at the moment? He's 28 and I'm 23, he's obviously a lot more advanced in his career. I am still young and like to think I am improving every year like he was when he was my age.

"Hopefully I can keep on improving and one day get to the level he's at now."

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