By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger says consistent teams will reap their rewards in 2013 - and he believes Arsenal can be one of them.
The Frenchman has seen his side string together consecutive Premier League wins over West Bromwich Albion, Reading and Wigan Athletic to leave them well-placed for a top-four finish, and perhaps more.
Manchester United have shown the way in the first half of the season and now lead Manchester City by seven points at the top of the table thanks to a last-gasp winner against Arsenal's next opponents, Newcastle.
Now Wenger wants his team to emulate the leaders and put together a long, unbeaten run of their own.
"It is down to consistency," he told Arsenal Player. "Christmas showed us that Chelsea and Manchester City are not out of reach. The team that is consistent with their results will get there.
"They [Man United] don’t look out of reach if you look at the way the games go. But again they manage to win at home in the last minute. They have the quality to score goals but they do concede so it is open. But at the moment they are the most consistent."
With only seven points separating the six teams from third to eighth place, and with six points up for grabs over the New Year period, Wenger knows this is a vital stage of the season. He believes last weekend's win at Wigan augurs well.
"It was an important three points because they [Wigan] came into the game on the back of an important win at Reading. For us to have two away wins just before playing at home over Christmas was vital.
"We were less impressive than we had been at Reading going forward but we were well organised and disciplined. So [it was good] to get the three points with this type of performance.
"We have built a team who showed fantastic promise at the start but have stuttered a little bit. Now there is a block of unity and understanding. They know the way to play. That can give us the consistency between January and May."
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