Kieran Gibbs believes Arsenal’s defensive improvement stems from their collective desire to press opponents high up the pitch.

The Gunners have only conceded five times from open play while soaring to the top of the Premier League.

Gibbs puts this progress down to hard work on the training pitch, extensive analysis and the natural rhythm the Gunners have built up.

We are obviously doing a lot of work on the training field. We have coaches who are on top of us a lot and informing us about opponents

Kieran Gibbs

“I feel like we have been [tight] for a while,” he told Arsenal Player. “Last season - especially towards the back end of it - we showed a good understanding together and that is just improving now.

“It certainly feels - not just as a back four but the whole team - when we press from the front and defend more as a team, we don't look like we are going to concede. That is a positive that we want to keep going.

“We are obviously doing a lot of work on the training field. We have coaches who are on top of us a lot and informing us about opponents; what to be careful of, when we can afford to take risks - there is a lot of analysis that helps us improve.

“But I think our consistency is just down to playing a lot of games. The more you play with each other, the better understanding you naturally get.”

Saturday’s opponents, Southampton, have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season and Gibbs is expecting a tough contest.

“I have been very impressed with them,” he said. “I’ve seen them play a few times now and they’ve played very well in most of their games.

“They have a certain style of play: they like to put pressure on teams, press them high and I think it will make it an exciting game.”

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 21 Nov 2013