By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has praised Arsenal’s ‘grace under pressure’ at Birmingham on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead thanks to Robin van Persie’s deflected free-kick after 13 minutes but would only kill the game in the second half through Samir Nasri’s opportunistic strike and Roger Johnson’s own goal.

However, it was not the quality or even the number of the goals that impressed Wenger, it was the courage they showed to produce their football in difficult situations.

"It takes a kind of bravery to get the ball down and play,” said Wenger. “That is always the most important thing and why I was most pleased on Saturday.

"We tried to play everytime. Sometimes we lost the ball but we tried. Even under pressure.

"After the Chelsea game the team was on a high because we got that burden out of the way. But after we were quickly down again because we dropped two points against Wigan. But I am pleased we were quickly back up again.

"This team could see the positive effect of the Chelsea win. It was there for all to see on Saturday. You can see we have the belief in our game now. That is what will make the title race really interesting.”

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3 Jan 2011