‘Meh’ is about as appropriate an expression as can be used to sum up the reaction after Arsenal’s cakewalk against Bournemouth on Saturday.
‘Meh’ because we knew it was perfectly possible that we might make the Cherries look absolutely rank, and ‘meh’ because victory really didn’t act as any sort of salve to the woes which have beset the club in recent weeks.
That’s not to say a comfortable victory and solid performance is not entirely welcome, because it very much is, but it just felt a little anti-climactic given everything that has taken place.
In truth, it was a game we should have won so the result, while comprehensive, was basically the minimum that was required from the Gunners.
Whether there will be any lasting, tangible improvement in performance and attitude from the team remains to be seen, and that is why the vast majority of fans will be reserving judgement until much later this season.
I refer, of course, to next Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, where the team will face a real test of its credentials.
But those thoughts are for another day. For now, all we can do is take the win that has been presented to us – albeit with a large pinch of salt and a dash of caution.
It was good to see Danny Welbeck enjoy another fruitful afternoon.
Danny’s skills in front of goal have become something of a meme in recent times and I have no doubt that his inability to finish is weighing on his mind. Even his first goal had an air of ‘Welbeck’ about it, with the ball deflecting in off a shoulder.
However, two goals and plenty of end product will do wonders for his confidence and, while he will never be Thierry Henry, it would be great to see him get double figures this season.
Danny was also full of running and his pace and power, as well as his work rate, make him a valuable asset to the team. On current form, a difficult man to drop but having held on to Alexis Sanchez, it would seem foolish not to play him. We will see.
Mesut Ozil also had the sort of game he is well capable of having. His running, movement, and passing were superb, and he was only denied a goal by a strong save from Asimir Begovic in the Bournemouth goal.
I don’t think Mesut will ever be the consistent performer we all want him to be, but on his day the German is world class and he showed it again on Saturday.
As to Arsene Wenger’s continued use of the back three, there is little to add to the conversation here. Bournemouth were in such poor form that they failed to provide much of a test for the trio of Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielney and Shkodran Mustafi. That’s not to say that those three didn’t perform well, merely that they weren’t stretched enough to allow observers to draw definite conclusions.
Their test, as with the rest of the team, will come next Sunday when they will get an examination from a team of genuine quality.
Had we managed victory at Stoke three weeks or so back, things wouldn’t be half bad at this point. The win over Bournemouth would have seen us comfortably in the mix at the top of the table and the mood would have been a little more positive, though not quite optimistic.
As it is, we contrived to lose at Stoke and then found ourselves on the end of a real hammering at Anfield. Given those circumstances, yesterday’s win still has a hollow feel to it. While it might seem churlish to be so po-faced about it all, we have all been here before as fans and we don’t like where it leads.
It’s the hope that kills you.