Van Persie slams sloppy goals

Arsenal forward Robin van Persie says the Gunners must stop throwing away winning positions, something that has become an unwanted habit throughout this season.

Arsene Wenger's side go into Wednesday's North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur seven points behind table-toppers Manchester United, knowing they must win their game in hand against Spurs to have any hope of keeping their title hopes alive.

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“If you look at our history, when we are in front, when we are safe, when we have three points in our pocket, we concede goals," he said.

“We have to stay positive, but we really have to look at it because it is almost criminal to give away points like that."

The Gunners have already met Harry Redknapp's men twice this season, prevailing 4-1 in the League Cup before blowing a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to their arch rivals at Emirates Stadium.

“We always look forward to playing these games, I always say it is in these bigger games you become a man, and it is up to us to show that,” Van Persie said.

The 27-year-old also feels that his fellow Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart can help inspire Tottenham to Champions League qualification for a second season running.

“This year the arrival of Van der Vaart has given them a bit extra not just to stay at the top six – he can be the difference between sixth spot to fourth or third maybe, because he gives them something extra, scoring goals, making assists and he is a good all round player.”

By Diarmuid O'Riordan