I’d love to be able to blame our humiliating annihilation on the numbskull responsible for dressing us in a green kit, upon a grass pitch, but frankly that’s a feeble excuse. Saturday’s demolition served as a timely reminder of the enormity of the task facing Unai Emery.
When Arsenal lost 3-0 at home to the best team in England, four days after losing in the Carabao Cup final, there were some onlookers who described it as rock bottom. Now that statement is looking both over-ambitious and lacking in foresight.
An emphatic first win of the New Year does not definitively prove there is a bright future for Arsenal without Alexis Sanchez but manager Arsene Wenger confirmed his players had been destabilised by the uncertainty over the Chilean’s transfer to Manchester United.
“We’ll be punished if we play like this on Saturday.” It’s not often the crowd at the Emirates grumbles in agreement, but that was the general sentiment in N5 just before 9pm last Wednesday.
After describing how proud he was of his Tottenham Hotspur side’s performance in a one-sided north London derby, Mauricio Pochettino was asked whether Chelsea’s victory at Everton earlier in the day meant there was an underlying feeling of disappointment in home dressing room at White Hart Lane.
Usually I’d be positively bristling with anticipation at the prospect of getting round to the Arsenal, in the gorgeous spring sunshine, following the comparative purgatory of a fortnight’s international break.
Shkodran Mustafi felt Arsenal displayed the "steel" required to mount a sustained Premier League title challenge this season after Laurent Koscielny's bizarre stoppage-time goal had snatched a 1-0 win at Burnley.
Theo Walcott’s epiphany, 10 years after first arriving at the club and at the grand old age of 27, that he is a winger not a striker inspired Arsenal to a Champions League victory over Basel and, coming just three days after a fine victory over Chelsea, has raised levels of positivity at the Emirates to new levels.