By Richard Clarke
Gael Clichy believes one of the reasons for Arsenal's disappointing draw against Birmingham on Saturday is that they have had things too easy so far this season.
Emmanuel Adebayor put the home side ahead from the penalty spot but Garry O'Connor levelled three minutes after the break. Arsenal mounted an energetic yet fruitless finale and the solitary point allowed Manchester United to leapfrog Arsène Wenger's side on goal difference. It was only the second week Arsenal had been off top spot since mid-September.
Afterwards, the manager described his side's performance on Saturday as "one of the mysteries of football". Clichy had a more down-to-earth theory.
"The boss told us to play simple and yet, instead of making the easy choice, we did not play the right final ball," he said.
"When you concede a goal at the start of the second half from a set-piece, you have to say we were not ready from the off. The boss warned us about that at half-time and so there was really a sense of disappointment.
"Now we have to focus again and work hard in the next game because this was not enough. But that is the danger when you play so well from the first game in the Premier League, you do not have to question yourself after every game.
"Let's get on with the job now. We have to refocus, everyone, and move forwards. I do not think the mentality is gone. We are still there for the title and we are going to show that against Fulham in the next match.
"Manchester United were top before the New Year by just one point and now it is the same picture again. We just have to play our best game. We know we have the quality to win it.
"It is disappointing losing two points like this, but we have to look forward to the next match."Copyright 2017 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