The Emirates Stadium was treated to an Arsenal masterclass with a 2-0 win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur, however, the victory has posed more questions than answers to what has already been a turbulent season for Arsene Wenger and his men.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Wenger has only seen his side take one point from the three games played against the top six. They failed to score at Chelsea and shipped a combined seven goals in the fast counter-attacking displays by Liverpool and Manchester City.
While Arsenal’s home form boasts illustrious reading with 11 home wins on the bounce, their displays on the road have been beyond dubious. They have only picked up four points from a possible 18 on their travels and the appearances particularly in the defeats to Stoke and Watford were literally that – appearances.
They lacked desire, a sense of tactical nous and above all the class they showed against Tottenham. Although the scoreline in the North London derby could have been different due to the controversy of the Gunner’s first goal – never has this Arsenal side showed the energy and enthusiasm to fight for the shirt.
The extra derby day incentive showed Wenger that his players can overcome the glassy-eyed mistakes that led them to being blown away by Liverpool and City.
Midfielder Mesut Ozil who has received the brunt of the Arsenal criticism this season, was impetuous on the ball, dictated the rhythm of play and continued to serve a purpose for Arsenal, even when they were on the back foot.
Not to mention, forward Alexis Sanchez looked fired up and ready to go hammer and tongs for the Wenger cause. A sight which has become a rarity in recent times.
The Chile international even ended his one-year-goal scoring drought against the top six, a record which stretches back to September 2016 against Chelsea.
Despite the encouraging display, it begs the question as to why it has taken them so long to produce this level of performance, especially from a side that shows such promise.
They have provided their strikers with the second most chances in the league (153), yet struggle to supply the clinical nature needed to finish games off or to give themselves the ascendancy.
Even if you only take their 12 Premier League contests into account, the Gunner’s have failed to make the score sheet on four occasions.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette has hardly set the league alight since his £40 million arrival in the summer. His six goals in twelve appearances are dwarfed by the leading front-men from other five teams placed above them.
Counterparts Tottenham have Harry Kane, Chelsea bought in Alvaro Morata, who has netted eight times in his 10 starts, City can rely on both the services of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero. Manchester United secured the signature of Romelu Lukaku, Liverpool have the Premier League’s top scorer, Mohamed Salah in their ranks.
While a goal every other game is not the worse return, it is hardly going to take the Gunner’s to the heights of a title challenge anytime soon.
Arsenal atill appear to be missing the player who can swing the pendulum in their favour, even if the game looks destined to go the other way.
There is no doubt that they do not have the players to do so, if Sanchez can continue to show the fight which led his side to victory over Tottenham and Lacazette can become more prolific, Wenger could well have a side ready to compete with the higher echelons of the Premier League.
However, there are still way too many ifs, buts and maybes for Arsenal to become one of England’s leading super-giants and if they to be finally seen as a serious contender for the top spot, they have to start capitalising on their missed opportunities and use the derby win as the foot needed to kick-start their season.