Arsene Wenger might not like it, but Arsenal won't be taken seriously as title contenders until they can shed their nerves. Those jitters could cost the Gunners in the race to win the English Premier League, if they continue to undermine them in key games.
The latest example of Wenger's men failing to thrive with the pressure on came in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Everton. The stalemate cost Arsenal the chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
The result against a confident and stylish Everton team was not a disaster and neither was the performance. The Gunners displayed the blend of resilience, patience and flair that has been their hallmark so far this season.
While Everton rightly took plaudits for their daring authority at the Emirates Stadium, they never outclassed Arsenal, despite much hysteria in sections of the media.
In fact, as well the Toffees passed the ball and rotated positions, the Gunners crafted some passages of quality combination play of their own.
The problem with their performance was a worrying timidity that surrendered the initiative in the early stages. It was a disappointing sight in a game of such significance.
Worst still, it is not the only time this season Arsenal have faltered with the focus on them. They fell flat during a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford in November.
Given recent results, that failure is put into stark perspective. Still, plenty will say there is no shame in a narrow defeat at the home of the champions, or a battling draw against an Everton side in rich form.
But while that is true, it also a cheap excuse. Yes Arsenal were frustrated by a good Everton team, but the Gunners are aiming to be the best team in the league.
That means they have to beat Everton at home, especially when the rewards are so obvious. Arsenal have to take advantage when City, Chelsea and United all drop points on the same day.
That is what nerves cost them against Everton. The chance to show the critics that, while the usual suspects are faltering, they can forge ahead and distinguish themselves from the rest.
The loss to United wasn't an absence of talent, it was a lack of gumption. It cost the Gunners the chance to make a significant statement. To earn the kind of symbolic victory that heralds a change in the established order.
Of course, Arsenal are short on practice handling nerves when legitimate chances to inch closer to big prizes present themselves.
That is the inevitable result of not winning a major trophy since 2005. But it is also precisely why the current EPL leaders can't quite fully convince many they will stay there.
How many times in the last eight years have Arsenal got to within touching distance of silverware, only to flop on the big stage? Late-season collapses in 2008, 2010 and 2011 are painful recent memories.
Wenger recently chided certain pundits for continually doubting his Gunners. But changing opinion can only happen on the pitch.
Wins against City and Chelsea will alter perception fast. But a pair of defeats will carry echoes of "same old, same old."
This is an Arsenal squad that can win the EPL title. But until they seize the initiative it will remain hard to believe they actually will.
Not only for fans and pundits, but clearly also for the players themselves.