If Leicester City were something of a yardstick for this young Arsenal side, they more than measured up.
I must confess, I was far from confident Mikel Arteta’s men could come away from the King Power with a result but a combination of good fortune, good form, and unbelievable goalkeeping meant they picked up three extremely valuable points.
Add to that a ninth game unbeaten and a series of favourable results elsewhere in the league and it truly was a memorable day to be an Arsenal fan.
It probably goes without saying that Aaron Ramsdale was our stand-out performer on the day but there must be credit given also those in front of him who toiled long and hard to preserve the three points.
It would be pushing it to say the second half was anything other than difficult for the Gunners but game state may have had a lot to do with that, as well as the obvious quality of the hosts. Though Leicester are perhaps a little way short of the side they have been in the last two or three years, they remain a cohesive and effective unit and still take some stopping, particularly at home.
Remaining alert and proactive from a defensive point of view was crucial and, while not perfect, the Gunners performed with the sort of commitment and concentration that hasn’t always been their hallmark of late. They are finding ways to dig deeper and coming up with crucial blocks, covering runs and interceptions – and that includes the newer boys, Tomiyasu and Nuno Tavres, too.
At the other end of the pitch, Arsenal’s tendency towards fast starts was once again in evidence and, as yet, teams don’t seem to have an answer to it – long may that continue. While we still aren’t creating huge numbers of opportunities, at the moment we are absolutely maximising the ones we are creating and that is paying dividends.
As I wrote in the build-up to the match, taking your chances in games like these is often the difference and so it was. The Gunners were pretty ruthless with the chances that came their way, the Foxes were not.
In the grand scheme of things, this was a huge result for Arteta and Arsenal. The opening weeks of the season were pretty disastrous for the club and everything that could go wrong did. Since then, the team have ground out results, suffered, toiled and, ultimately, started to produce.
It’s worth bearing in mind that this isn’t the end of the underwhelming results. There will be more difficult days to come and days when this young team struggles. Of late, though, they have been brilliant and are showing the early signs that this could be a truly exciting project in the months and years to come.
But we must keep building on this. While it was a brilliant result in isolation, it only takes on true significance if we can push on and pick up more wins in the games to come. There has to be more to come.