As Liverpool found out to their cost last season, titles are not always won and lost in the games against the big teams. Rafa Benitez's side lost just two games all season in 2008/09, but it was dropped points against the likes of Stoke, Hull and relegated Middlesbrough that cost them dearly. In contrast, champions Manchester United gave up only four points against the bottom 12 teams in the table
It is fact that Robin van Persie is well aware of as his Arsenal side travel across London to face Fulham at Craven Cottage today. Van Persie thinks it is this kind of game that will test Arsenal's Premier League title credentials. The Dutch forward, 26, has played in defeats to Manchester United and City this season - but he believes the matches against teams without top-four aspirations are just as important.
"Maybe even more important in the end," the Holland international said. "If you look last year, the way Manchester United became champions was against the smaller teams. "They won against all the teams from 19 to 10. That is why they became champions. So it is very important to win these games. "I had a look at the fixtures coming up and on paper they look all right, but we lost to Fulham last year so it is very, very tough.
"I saw their game against Everton and they were very decent and it was a very good goal from Damien Duff. It's going to be hard but as long as we can put the pressure on the opponent, play together and share the goals then I'm quite confident." Van Persie is also determined to fit into role at the apex of Arsene Wenger's 4-3-3 system and add to his one strike this season - but he is happy to turn provider too.
"That is something I have to work on," he said. "I know that but I'm confident it will be OK very soon. I don't feel that I'm at the top of my game as a main striker yet. I have to improve on many things but it is quite new and the main thing is that the boss really backs me on this one. He really thinks I can succeed as he has a lot of trust in me. "When you don't score you are not happy with yourself but the first thing for me is that we win games and I can give assists and help the team. The way we are doing it now is that everyone is sharing the goals. I'm quite happy with that but I should score more personally."
firstname.lastname@example.org Fulham v Arsenal, KO 8.30pm, Showsports 1 & 2