Robin van Persie has warned Arsenal cannot afford any more "criminal" lapses in concentration if they are to beat arch-rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night and keep alive hopes of catching Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.
Arsenal have made throwing away winning positions something of a habit this season, coasting 2-0 at half-time of their home clash against Spurs in November only to lose and then they failed to see out victory at Newcastle despite having raced into a 4-0 lead inside 26 minutes before caving into a Toon Army onslaught after Abou Diaby was sent off.
"This has happened too often, in my opinion," Van Persie told Arsenal TV Online. "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."
He added: "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 have little time to reflect on missed opportunities as they prepare to head to White Hart Lane for what is set to be another intense affair.
Van Persie was not involved when the Gunners ran out 4-1 winners after extra-time in their Carling Cup fixture earlier this season, but cannot wait to sample the derby awayday atmosphere again.
"We always look forward to playing these games," said the Holland striker.
"Maybe it is a good thing we play them this quick after a game like Sunday (a 1-1 draw with Liverpool) 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 is up to us to show that."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms