Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has aired his frustration over his team-mates’ defensive errors in allowing “silly goals” in the title race.
The Gunners recklessly conceded a penalty in the dying stages against Liverpool, costing the hosts a win at the Emirates, and are now seven points off table-topping Manchester United.
It was not the first time that the Londoners have dropped points from winning positions this season, as they have let slip a two-goal lead to Tottenham – who they face on Wednesday night at White Hart Lane – and went on to lose before allowing Newcastle to come back from 4-0 down at St James’ Park.
Arsenal’s Dutch striker believes such slack defending has cost the side dearly.
He told Arsenal TV Online: “This has happened too often, in my opinion. If you look at our history, when we are in front, when we are safe, when we have the three points in our pocket, we do concede goals.
“Some of them are silly goals, which we have to work on. We have to stay positive, but we really have to look at it because it is almost criminal to give away points like that.”
Arsenal, who have a game in hand over United at the summit, will be looking to avenge the early season 3-2 defeat to their bitter local rivals when they lock horns again on Wednesday, and the 27-year-old feels that playing Spurs so soon after the disappointment of dropping points at home will give them the perfect chance to bounce back.
He continued: “We always look forward to playing these games. Maybe it is a good thing we play them this quick after a game like Sunday because we can make things right – there is no better way than [winning] at White Hart Lane.
“I always say it is in these bigger games where you become a man, and it up to us to show that.”
One person who has stepped up for Arsenal this season is Jack Wilshere, who picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award on Sunday after an impressive campaign for club and country, and Van Persie had plenty of praise for his team-mate.
“The amount of good games Jack has played is special,” he said. “I have never seen anyone who is 19 and that good in his role.
“He plays very mature – when you get older, you have the experience and know how to play each game, and sometimes I feel he has that already. He can play for others and help others out, so that is a gift and he is doing it very well.”