Arsenal may have been generally expected to win their Premier League game at Watford on Saturday, even though the Gunners were playing away from home, and with some concern about the match fitness of star man Alexis Sanchez after his late return from international duty with Chile.
After Man City, Man United and Chelsea all won before we kicked off and with the weight of expectation pressing on Arsenal shoulders, the game against a resilient Watford was a potential banana skin and Sky Sports pundit and former Gunner Thierry Henry seemed more relieved than anything at the final whistle. He saw it as another test passed by the team and more encouragement that this really could be our year.
Henry said, “They are in the mix for me.
“Today was a massive response knowing everybody had won. Everybody was waiting to see if they were going to back up the win against United. Can they do it and maintain it for more than 15, maybe 20 games? That’s what we want to see.
“They have to play like that all the time and win games like that sometimes, where for an hour they struggle and then come out on top.
“Everybody can dream. If you love Arsenal I think they can win the title this season.”
After the way we took Manchester United apart in the previous EPL game though, the question was could Arsenal get right back to business and it was a serious question. A few years ago it was our failure to adapt and cope with the games against big rivals that seemed to be the Achilles heel but that has generally been put right by Arsene Wenger’s tactical change and the players’ implementation of plan B.
No sooner was one problem seen to, however, then another popped up. The next criticism leveled at Arsenal was the perceived failure to handle pressure and expectation, such as the first leg of the Champions League knockout phase against Monaco last season and the opening day of this one against West Ham.
So I agree with Henry that yesterday´s performance and result was a big one for us. Do you think that Arsenal are now the real deal?