Carl Jenkinson concedes Arsenal lack consistency

Gunners were beaten by Tottenham yesterday

Carl Jenkinson admits Arsenal's hopes of Champions League qualification are being severely hampered by a lack of consistency that was once again laid bare in yesterday's north London derby defeat.

Arsenal dominated the opening half-hour of the game at White Hart Lane, but Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon took advantage of some statuesque defending from the Gunners with two goals in just over two minutes to help Spurs to a 2-1 win.

Tottenham, who now stand seven points ahead of their neighbours, are in the midst of a 12-match unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League, with their last defeat coming some three months ago at Everton.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have failed to put a decent streak together throughout what has been a difficult season for Arsene Wenger and his men.

Their best run came at the end of 2012 when they went five matches unbeaten and while they scored seven goals against Newcastle and five against Spurs in November, they have also fallen to disappointing defeats to Bradford, Blackburn, Norwich and Swansea.

"On our day we can beat anyone," Jenkinson told Arsenal's website.

"I genuinely believe that. When we play to our potential, teams can't come near us, but we need to do that consistently.

"If we do that we will be fine, but we just can't find the consistency at the moment.

"We played well (against Tottenham) in patches, but then we'll have 10 minutes where we'll drift out of the game a little bit."

Jenkinson, a lifelong Arsenal fan, looked visibly shaken as he gathered his thoughts on a loss that puts Arsenal in serious danger of failing to finish inside the top four for the first time in 16 years.

"I'm distraught, to be honest," the right-back said.

"I know the importance [of the derby]. In history, we've always tended to come out on top but it wasn't our day. We beat them at home and they beat us at their place. But it's really disappointing that we haven't at least picked up a point."

Olivier Giroud missed a golden chance to put Arsenal ahead early on, but some lion-hearted defending from Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen kept Arsenal at bay for all but one moment when Per Mertesacker pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half.

Giroud looked hapless up front, while at the other end of the pitch Vermaelen and Mertesacker were made to look sluggish by the pace of Bale and Lennon.

One crumb of comfort for the Gunners is that this time last year they clawed back a 10-point deficit to finish above Tottenham for the 17th consecutive season.

Jenkinson remains hopeful he and his team-mates can bridge the gap again this time around.

"There are 10 games left and there are plenty of points to play for," he said.

"I think in a couple of days' time, we'll get our head around this and realise that we've bridged a gap like that before and can do it again. Everyone is disappointed we lost.

"We will be positive and we will come back from this.

"Tottenham are our rivals but we'll get over it, we'll be positive. We've just got to work our socks off because we need to be in that top four at the bare minimum.

"I am confident we can find that consistency. We just have to believe in ourselves for the rest of the season."

PA

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