LONDON, Nov 3, 2009 (AFP) - Cesc Fabregas admits Arsenal must use Wednesday's Champions League clash against AZ Alkmaar to hone their killer instinct.
Fabregas was unhappy with the way Arsene Wenger's side conceded a late equaliser against AZ after dominating for long periods in Holland two weeks ago.
|Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas (R) vies with Tottenham's Robbie Keane during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates stadium on October 31, 2009 (AFP photo)|
While Arsenal are still firmly on course to qualify for the knockout stages after taking seven points from their first three Group H matches, Gunners captain Fabregas knows they must develop a more ruthless approach to closing out matches if they want to win the competition.
Just days after the disappointment of drawing with the Dutch champions, Arsenal surrendered a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 draw with struggling West Ham.
Spain midfielder Fabregas, who scored in Saturday's 3-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham, hopes his team-mates have learned from those let-downs as they try to cement first place in the group at the Emirates Stadium.
"We must learn from these games. We have to do better," Fabregas said.
"Of course we wish we could score four or five goals in every single game, but we must realise that sometimes that is not the way football is and sometimes to win the games, you just have to not make mistakes and work hard to keep the ball better.
"But it is always hard to go away in the Champions League and get a result, so we cannot be too disappointed with the draw against AZ.
"Another positive is that we are scoring goals, and that is the hardest thing to do in football, which says a lot about us.
"But on the days when we can't score more, we need to kill the game off in other ways, by passing the ball more and keeping possession."
If Wenger's team - unbeaten in their last 11 matches - can reproduce the breath-taking play that destroyed Spurs on Saturday, they should defeat Alkmaar and move within touching distance of making the last 16 for the 10th consecutive season.
Saturday's 1-0 win against Groningen was only Alkmaar's second success in five matches and Ronald Koeman's team remain 14 points behind Dutch league leaders FC Twente.
Wenger believes the key to Arsenal's success on Wednesday, and for the rest of the season, could hinge on Robin van Persie's ability to maintain his current superb form.
Van Persie, 26, is thriving in his new role at the centre of Arsenal's three-man attack - scoring seven times in his last seven games - and his two goals against Spurs moved Wenger to describe the Dutch forward as a worthy successor to Arsenal legends Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
"He is the kind of player, with the type of game we play, who is vital because when you play the ball to his feet his first touch is always perfect and that allows others to join in," Wenger said.
"It makes everybody dangerous. In the box he is clever and intelligent."
Although Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner faces a month on the sidelines with a groin injury, Wenger's attacking options should be stronger than ever against AZ.
French playmaker Samir Nasri got through 90 minutes against Liverpool on his first appearance of the season after a broken leg, while Tomas Rosicky, who returned to action in September after 18 months out, could feature after an injury setback.
"Tomas Rosicky is like many players who we have had out," Wenger said.
"He has been given the all clear from a scan but still has pain. We hope he will be fit for Wednesday or next Saturday."