With four games left to play before last night´s Arsenal needed just a single point to ensure that Arsene Wenger would have an 18th successive season to pit his wits against the best in Europe in the Champions League. So you could perhaps have understood if the levels of performance were to drop a little, but instead the Gunners went to Hull and played some of the best football we have seen from them all season.
That desire to keep going and the proof that Arsenal are continuing to improve and progress rather than stopping to admire what we have already done has clearly delighted the boss, as he explained in his post match interview reported on the Arsenal website.
The Frenchman may have played down the chances of Arsenal winning the Premier League trophy next season, suggesting that a lot can happen between now and the start of the next campaign, but I reckon he is feeling really good about Arsenal´s ability to mix it with anyone now.
And the way his players stuck to the Wenger way of playing made last night´s emphatic win over an in form Steve Bruce team playing in front of their home fans made the victory extra special.
Wenger said, “We set ourselves the target to continue our run but also to continue to make progress as a team, because we feel we have made progress during the season. Tonight was a demonstration that we can improve and that we can keep the quality very high. We played the kind of football we love to play and we played it for long periods of the game with the quality we desire.
“The surprising thing of the night is that we scored the goal that we didn’t necessarily deserve to score and we missed the chances we should have scored.
“Before the game I thought that it would be a very difficult game. We certainly had a few turning points – the fact that we scored first, the fact that our defenders were calm on the ball and that we could always dictate our technical level. Never were we under real pressure. We got out of tight situations with good technical skills and that took the pressure off our team, and we always looked like we could create something with the speedy movement of our players.
“It first shows that we are an offensive team who likes to win going forward. The most important thing is that we feel we’ve made progress since the start of the season, and that people look at us in a different way to how they did in September.
“We are consistent and consistency is the first sign of quality. We passed a few test in a positive way. What is very important is to keep the attitude in the side to improve, to make progress.
“Ask me that question [about title] in August. Give me a little breather until August. What is at stake now is to finish the season well. If we maintain our run then we will finish second and we still have the FA Cup final – we will see where we are after that.”
How good is it to see Arsenal moving in the right direction and making real progress?