Clichy: We need to get results
Gael Clichy maintains it is about time Arsenal got the results their performances against Premier League title rivals deserved and not just credit for playing nice football.
The Gunners head to Old Trafford on Monday night looking to keep themselves top of the table, having made the most of Manchester United's postponement at Blackpool last weekend. However, it has been four years since Arsenal beat the Red Devils on home soil, and their recent record against Chelsea does not stand up much better either.
Arsene Wenger's side put on a decent display against the Blues in October, creating several chances before nemesis Didier Drogba struck again and they eventually went down 2-0. However, that was the only away match Arsenal have lost in the league so far, recording impressive victories at Manchester City, Everton and Aston Villa.
Clichy - now recovered from the virus which forced him to miss the midweek UEFA Champions League win over Partizan Belgrade - feels the Gunners must now continue that form and deliver in Monday's televised showdown.
"We know that if we win this game we will go four points ahead of Manchester United," the full-back told Arsenal TV Online. "We will try to win the game by playing well, but at the end of the day playing well and losing the game is not giving you anything.
"Okay, it gives you credit you are a good player and you play for a good side, but at the end of the day if you can be four points ahead of the second place, that is all that matters. We just want to win and make our fans proud. We have been training hard every day and will show them we are up for this game."
Clichy, 25, has been at Arsenal since 2003 and is the last remaining member of that season's 'Invincibles' squad, earning a championship medal after 12 appearances as Ashley Cole's understudy. The France international maintains the current campaign has developed into the most challenging for all top-flight teams.
"This season in the Premier League it is totally different," Clichy said. "A team in the bottom half of the table can take a major team like Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United. It is not like ten years ago - players are stronger, better and faster with the ball.
"When you play for Arsenal, you want clean sheets every game, but we are not the only ones - Chelsea have been struggling and Manchester United have only conceded two goals less than us, so if we talk about Arsenal this way, then maybe we should look elsewhere."
Focus is required
Clichy, though, accepts the Gunners must maintain focus and have been guilty of switching off when in total control - just as they did against Tottenham Hotspur to throw away a 2-0 lead. "Sometimes it is better to be 1-0 up because everybody is more focused, but when the game becomes more easy at 2-0 maybe people are not doing the right movement or the right pass and minute after minute you can maybe drop the level," he said.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, feels there should not be too much attention paid to past records against the likes of United and Chelsea. "Of course it is always of psychological importance in the heads of the players to beat your main rivals, but we are doing well and are in a position where we can have belief," he said.
"We are very hungry, we are playing for each other more than ever, so I believe with all that we can be dangerous and beat anybody. If we are in December and top of the league, that means the other teams have not done better than us, and that we have the qualities to beat them."