Arsenal must not fritter away the belief built up in wake of victory over Tottenham

If confidence and belief could be bottled and dished out before every match, it would probably turn this Arsenal team into title winners.

Saturday’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur was proof positive that, on their day, when every member of the team is fired up and prepared, the Gunners are capable of brilliance.

We have known that about this team through all these years of disappointment, that they are capable of matching almost any side in world football, that they can, if everything runs smoothly, sweep opponents aside with ease.

It is the hope in the backs of all of our minds, that the stars will finally align and allow us to perform at our best every week, that has kept expectations so high, despite crushing blow after crushing blow.

Saturday’s 2-0 win re-stoked that fire of hope within Arsenal fans, re-affirming the belief in all of us that the Gunners are a supremely talented group of footballers, capable of great feats.

All the fundamental things the team sometimes neglects to do – the pressing, the tempo, the movement, the desire – were in evidence against Tottenham. Our big players weaved their magic when we needed them most, our team acted as a collective, the discipline and organisation was, to a man, faultless.

Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould had a clear, discernable game plan which their players executed almost flawlessly. It was obvious that everyone at the club had worked hard and was acutely aware of just how important it was to achieve victory.

The obvious question is why, if Arsenal are capable of producing that sort of intensity and intent, they don’t simply reproduce it for 90 minutes every week.

The man who has the answer to that question will lead us back to league title glory.

In the mean time, the rest of us can merely speculate and scratch our heads at the complexity of it all, and I’m sure Arsene Wenger is just as confounded as the rest of us.

He, above all others, believes in this team and games like Saturday’s must delight and frustrate him in equal measure.

After a virtual dead-rubber in Cologne in midweek, Arsenal are in action against Burnley next weekend, and all eyes will be on whether they can apply themselves as well as they did against Tottenham when faced with a less illustrious opponent.

If they are to retain the goodwill they accrued in victory over their north London rivals, they must find a way to do so. More than that, they must find a way of bringing that sort of performance out of the bag every week.

All but the most unreasonable of fans will accept that no team can win every game 5-0, but no fan can accept a team that doesn’t give its best in victory or defeat.

I suspect Saturday’s victory won’t be the turning point so many fans are craving, after all we have been in this position a million times before, but it must not be wasted and frittered away with a return to mixed mediocrity at Burnley next week.

We might not be able to bottle belief just yet, but we shown again that, when everything is on the line, we can still conjure a little of our own.

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