Arsenal 3-0 West Brom
No perching on the edge of the seat, nails bitten to the quick or hearts a-racing. No early goal for the visitors. No visions of wildebeests surrounded by lions at set pieces. No clinging on to a slim lead for dear life as the clock approaches 90 minutes. Is this the Arsenal we know and love? Well if it is, let me confess that I like it rather a lot.
Iâ€™m sure we will soon welcome stronger teams and teams in richer veins of form than the Baggies, but we controlled yesterdayâ€™s match from beginning to end and – if you are being uncharitable to West Brom – I always thought there was another gear should another gear be needed.
The timing of the goals was impeccable. A goal on 22 minutes set us up nicely, another on 39 – that morale-sapping period before the first half ends – made the challenge even harder for the visitors, and the final one, on 74, and the game was up. For you, West Brom, ze match is over.
For the first, it was all about Aaron Ramseyâ€™s sumptuous (and dare I say it, Fabregasesque) pass to Walcott. What a fine talent he is – just think of his chipped pass for Gervinho against Sunderland, and again at Chelsea for Gervinho to set van Persie up on a plate. Just as we know have three strong options in central defence, imagine the potential when Wilshere comes back with Ramsey and Arteta – and Ben-Eye Oon and Rosicky – in the creative positions.
van Persie turned provider – adding another feather to his already feather-riddled cap for numbers two and three, the pick of the bunch being the last one. van Persie, bish. Rosicky, bash. van Persie, bish bash and Arteta bosh*
*This technical analysis is hard to beat, anywhere on the web
Mertesacker was rested, and in his absence Vermaelen and Koscielny made a formidable pair. I have to laugh when I look at Koscielny, because after a season bedding in heâ€™s turning into *yet another* Wenger bargain. What was he, Â£8 million? Heâ€™ll be worth more now. As, you can assume, will the Â£2.75m van Persie be. On Fridayâ€™s Arsecast, the Frenchman was much discussed and it was pointed out – I canâ€™t quite recall whether it was by Philippe Auclair or Arsebl Augger – that for a man who has been lambasted for his defensive signings, this one looks to be turning out alright for Wenger.
Jenkinson will receive some plaudits too. He looked like an Arsenal fan who won a competition to play for his boyhood club in the early stages of the season, but if you didnâ€™t know what Wenger saw in him then, you will do now. Put simply: He can cross.
And boy, can he cross. He must have sliced, curled or powered five or six excellent crosses in yesterday. It was just a shame there was nobody at the end of any of them to finnish them*.
[*Red card – Ed]
Itâ€™s a powerful tool to have on the right side of the pitch, for sure, and with a bit more experience under his belt, the defensive side of things should get better, too.
Overall, a straightforward win, but you wonâ€™t hear me complaining. Weâ€™ve had too many edgy wins, frustrating draws or disappointing defeats over the last year to last a lifetime. Wins like this I hoover up gladly.
Over to you, International Break, you miserable wretch.