Kolo Toure thinks that Manchester City's disciplined defence could prove decisive in the Premier League title race.
The billionaires from Eastlands have been criticised in the wake of Wednesday night's unadventurous tactics in the 0-0 draw at top-of-the-table rivals Arsenal.
City's spoiling tactics of mainly keeping every man except Carlos Tevez behind the ball were a repeat of the drab derby stalemate with Manchester United earlier in the season.
But manager Roberto Mancini, who is on the verge of completing the signing of Edin Dzeko to add some firepower, has hit back at his club's detractors and former Arsenal centre-back Toure has also made a case for the defence.
"Chelsea came here (Arsenal) and lost. We left with a point," the Ivory Coast international told City's official website.
"Arsenal are playing really well at the moment so a draw on their ground is a good result.
"It is very important to have a strong defence if you are challenging for major honours. Strikers can win you games, but defenders win you titles."
Goalkeeper Joe Hart saw Arsenal hit the post twice in the first half as Arsene Wenger's team dominated and the England international admits it was tense.
"I was hoping to get to 10 minutes without conceding a goal because I played here last season with Birmingham and had to pick the ball out of the net twice in the first seven minutes," he said.
"But it just shows what grit and determination we have got.
"Our defence and midfield made some great tackles at important times and as for our goal leading a charmed life, well, the goals are the same size for every game. It's all about putting the ball between the posts rather than hitting them."