If memory serves me correctly Arsenal haven't come out of the blocks like they did yesterday since they tore into Napoli a couple of seasons ago. When the team come out like that from the first minute they are a handful for any team, but it is a rare occurrence. Usually Arsenal have a more measured approach to their game and gradually try to wear their opponents down. I'm not saying the approach against United would work in every single game, but it was a joy to watch and showed what this team is capable of.
Maybe that's why us fans can get so frustrated with them because we know what they are capable of and we just don't see it often enough. Arsenal have some very good players and those players showed yesterday that they are more than capable of beating any team in the Premier League. United came into the weekend on top of the table and would have stayed there with a victory, but Arsenal decided right from the kick off that it wasn't going to be United's game.
The reaction from Arsenal fans might have been a little over the top, but it's easy to understand considering how long it had been since they beat United in the league. It also has to be remembered that Arsenal came into the game on a real low point after the awful performance and result against Olympiacos in midweek. The difference between those two performances was quite incredible and it shows us the range of Arsenal's capabilities.
What we need to see from here on is an awful lot more of the Arsenal who showed up against United rather than the one which failed to show up against Olympiacos. If the players needed belief surely the victory, and the manner of it, over United has to go some way towards giving them that belief. They were a dream to watch with every player playing as if the game meant as much to them as it did to us fans.
United just couldn't find a way to cope with Arsenal in the first 20 minutes in particular and they were three down before they knew what had happened. The save made by Petr Cech just before half time had a huge influence on the game and who knows how the second half might have gone if he hadn't made it. I wasn't overly convinced about Cech when we signed him, but he is making a huge difference to the defence. He makes so many crucial saves when you expect the opposition to score that he must breed confidence in those in front of him.
The decision to leave him out of the team against Olympiacos, whether he had a slight knock or not, probably cost Arsenal that game and most likely their place in the knockout stages of this season's Champions League. If he had played and aggravated an injury I suppose Arsene Wenger would have taken a huge amount of criticism and maybe yesterday's game might have been different, but we'll never know. As it was though the boss was slated for playing David Ospina instead of him with Ospina's howler having a huge influence on the result.
Unfortunately there's a two week break for international football and we won't get to see Arsenal again until the trip to Watford on Saturday week. They will offer a different kind of challenge to the one United offered, but Arsenal need to put as much into that game as they did against United. They're only two points off the top of the table with no team looking like they will run away with the title.
Any team who can put a consistent run together are going to have a real chance of winning the league and that's exactly what Arsenal need to do. They have been anything but consistent so far this season, but I'm hoping the significance of the United victory will help them to find the focus they need. It's been 11 years since they last won the league, but maybe this will be the season where they can put in a genuine challenge and who knows where that could lead.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.