Santi Cazorla insists he is happy to sacrifice some of his attacking instincts to help the defensive solidity of the team.

The Gunners have only conceded 19 times in the Premier League this season which - along with Chelsea and Everton - gives them the best record in the top flight.

Sometimes you have to pull your sleeves up on the pitch and put in the hard work, particularly the players who play further forward

Santi Cazorla

The Spain international may be a playmaker by nature, but he accepts that if Arsenal are to be successful he must help out his team-mates at the back, too.

“I believe that defence is the fundamental basis of any successful side,” Cazorla told Arsenal Player. “If this team must base itself on something, it’s keeping clean sheets because when we do I think it means we guarantee the win in every game.

“The team is strong going forward and creates a lot of opportunities in every game. If you concede, you’ve got more ground to make up so it’s important that we keep as many clean sheets as possible.

“Sometimes you have to pull your sleeves up on the pitch and put in the hard work, particularly the players who play further forward.

“I remember the game against Newcastle at their place when [Tomas] Rosicky and I were practically playing out on the wings because that’s what was needed.

“Sometimes you have to make sacrifices that you’re not used to, but that’s what you have to do if you want to get results. I’ve become used to it now as it’s the best way to help the team - and that is what counts.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 16 Jan 2014