‘Arsenal must go on a run now to keep pace with Chelsea’
Nigel Winterburn’s exclusive Arsenal column - here every week
THERE can be no under-estimating the importance of Sunday’s win at Manchester City – it was a massive three points for the club and puts them right back into the picture at the top of the table.
However, I share some of Cesc Fabregas’s views that one result does not make a season – Sunday will mean nothing if, for example, Arsenal don’t win both of their next two home games against West Ham and Newcastle.
There are only nine games gone, and while that is a quarter of the season, there is still such a long way to go. With that said, however, if Arsenal had been beaten on Sunday and trailed Chelsea by eight points and City by six this week, the picture would be looking fairly grim.
But that didn’t happen, and it was not just to do with the red card for Dedryck Boyata although clearly that did have a massive influence on the game.
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The way Arsenal went about dismantling a side who have a very good defensive record at home, however, was mightily impressive, as was the composure they showed right through the game after that early incident.
I feared an Arsenal player would follow Boyata down the tunnel for most of the first half because it was a physical game and the tackles were flying in from both sides.
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But they kept their heads, got their noses in front, and then got the second, killer goal just when it looked like City might find an equaliser.
There were so many positives from the performance – Fabianski, Djourou, Nasri and Fabregas were both superb and I have been really impressed with Chamakh, his workrate is just what Arsenal have been missing up front.
Nasri is getting a lot of credit at the moment and rightly so. Creatively he is just capable of so much and while he has sometimes been in the shadow of Fabregas, the two of them can be a real force together now.
But as I said earlier, they must back this win up with a good run as Chelsea are not looking like dropping many points and are already five clear at the top.
Arsenal have the perfect opportunity to do that now, and while it pains me to say it about one of my other old clubs, West Ham have very little hope coming to the Emirates on Saturday.
They have had a poor start to the season but I still feel the squad there is not bottom of the table material. They will put up a fight but I don’t think they have the defensive quality to take anything from Saturday’s game.
Arsenal still have that West Brom defeat in their heads though, but that may be a good though. Complacency is the only threat to them not taking all three points on Saturday.