Clichy admits Arsenal lack attention to detail

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The Independent Football

Gaël Clichy believes Arsenal just have to improve "small details" to give themselves every chance of winning the Premier League title. The Gunners looked to be coasting towards a fifth straight league win when 2-0 up at West Ham on Sunday, only to allow the home side back into the match during the last 15 minutes.

Manager Arsène Wenger felt the key decisions given by referee Chris Foy – a free-kick against Abou Diaby which goalkeeper Vito Mannone pushed back into the six-yard box where Carlton Cole headed in and a penalty conceded by Alex Song's needless trip on the England striker – were "generous" in favour of the hosts.

However, Wenger did acknowledge his young side could not afford many more such lapses in concentration if they are to sustain a serious title challenge. Failure to close out victory at Upton Park was another hard lesson for his young team, who were also caught by a stoppage-time equaliser in their Champions League clash at AZ Alkmaar last week.

Full-back Clichy insists the team are determined to cut out such a costly loss of focus. "We were in control of the game, but it is not enough because we have to win games and stop losing points like this because it is a big disappointment," he said. "We have the quality, it is just small details that make the difference and we know that.

"On set pieces you have to be focused and referee decisions are not in our hands. The Premier League is really tough – even at 3-0 up you can concede a draw or lose the game. That shows you the level of the competition and the teams we are playing against."

Despite Sunday's disappointment, Arsenal are up to third place on goal difference ahead of north London rivals Tottenham, who they host on Saturday, and with a match in hand on Manchester United and leaders Chelsea.

Clichy believes tomorrow night's visit of Liverpool in the Carling Cup can not come soon enough. "We know what we have done right and wrong," he said. "When you make a mistake or have a bad game the best way to forget it is to play as soon as possible. We have a big game in the Carling Cup against Liverpool, so we have to be focused on that and then of course Tottenham is a big derby for ourselves and for the fans."

Wenger felt that his team overcomplicated matters on Sunday and were unable to create many chances despite having plenty of possession. While disappointed, Wenger stressed there were plenty of reasons to stay positive. "It is tight and open at the top of the table," he said. "I am convinced that it will be tight until the end."

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