Can Wenger improve on 2013 and finally lift some silverware?

By Avenell Dave

"You have to know how to win 1-0 if you want to win titles" said Manuel Pellegrini after seeing his Manchester City side scrape past Crystal Palace at home on Saturday.

The freescoring title challengers went to of the table with that slender win over relegation candidates but sometimes one goal is all you need to win a game.

And so it proved again on Sunday, with Olivier Giroud breaking his scoring drought to send us back to the top and ensure we have accumulated more points this calendar year than any other side in the top flight.

After the summer we had, the opening game to the season and the plethora of injuries to key players, it's a remarkable feat but means nothing in the big scheme of things.

City continue to look ominous and have world class players on their bench who would make our starting eleven every week.

Chelsea likewise may have a shortage of goals from strikers but they still keep grinding out results and maybe that is all that matters.

And however poor they are, United continue to put a decent run together even without Robin van Persie.

Watching yesterday's game, there was plenty to be proud of. A clean sheet, the dogged determination to resist an in-form team looking to continue their own fine run and arresting Giroud's striking malaise.

But there was also plenty to give concern.

As I mentioned before the game, we look so weak on our left flank and Newcastle understandably targeted it.

People rave about Kieran Gibbs and I would love to do so as well but the fact is, he gets caught out of position far far too much. If you don't agree, watch the game back and see how many crosses come from our left.

Even his crossing leaves something to be desired, a trait Bacary Sagna has improved no end, but it will be interesting to see if he is available or even selected against Cardiff on Wednesday.

Our passing continues to look laboured and predictable. We make the wrong decisions, we make things complicated when they can be simple and a couple of wins doesn't hide the fact that we have lost the zip we had earlier on this season.

Giroud had me screaming as well, not for his miss at 1-0 when a more composed striker would have taken a second touch and hammered the ball home, but for failing to see a simple pass to Theo Walcott at 0-0 which would have seen the speed demon race through on goal.

We all know we need another striker, unless Yaya Sanogo gets fit and turns into Nicolas Anelka of 1997/98 (not the controversy hit, attitude-filled Baggies striker of 2013) but who we can get that will provide world class quality who wants to move in a World Cup year is a moot point.

Even Wojciech Szczesny made another error and while his form on the whole this season has been fine, he has to cut out the mistakes that have hampered the last two games if we are to maintain a challenge.

Given that Liverpool fell from top to fifth over Christmas, I think we can safely say that even the top four is not guaranteed.

A bit of luck, some improvement to the standard of refereeing and a couple of canny purchases (which I hope are already being completed in anticipation of the window opening (yeah yeah, some hope I know!)) and we can keep up our challenge to the end of the campaign.

I know the fixture list makes it impossible to do too much coaching and we know what this squad is capable of.

We just have to hope that the team finds its zip and starts mesmerising teams so that we kill games off and maintain our momentum. We cannot rely on 1-0s.