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Thoughts on the Arsenal victory

Make no mistake, todays win was an important one.

With eyes upon us, and an air of expectation around the stadium we turned in a result and performance that suggested this side could be ready to achieve something.

With a more defensive formation, we managed to combine both endeavour and an attacking threat to come away with all three points when at one stage we may well have been facing a defeat.

It was a very watchable first half - and I thought we looked very comfortable - the selections of de Jong and Bellamy to supplement the defensive side of the game were justified as we stymied Arsenal for the most part. We looked solid at the back, were the more fluent and lively side and deserved the lead at the break.

It was interesting to see the opening goal the result of another set piece, and the threat we possess - with Richards, Lescott et al gives us a dangerous presence that we have lacked for such a long time.

You expected more from Arsenal after the break and we saw a more purposeful side, one ignited by the introduction Rosicky and this saw us come under heavy pressure. Shay Given again proved his value with a pair of excellent saves but a moment of quality brought Arsenal on level terms.

At 1-1 Arsenal then looked the side who would go on to take all three points, but there is a greater belief about this side, untainted by collapses of City past. I was concerned that we lacked the ability to conjour a winner up in the side without Tevez or Robinho, but one thing we do possess is pace and this threat led to the remarkable passage of play that saw us take the points in style.

The value of Petrov coming off the bench should not be underestimated either, his natural width allowing us to stretch the play and with Arsenal sensing their opportunity for victory, this created an opening for us as we sealed the victory with three counter-attacking goals of the highest quality that Arsenal had no response to.

The celebration by Adebayor following the third goal was unwarranted though. Yes he was fired up and to be booed at every touch (deserved or not) would surely rankle, yet a distance of 95 yards is surely enough to override any spur of the moment action or thought. Should censure arive from the FA, this could be even more ill-timed given his importance next Sunday.

Showing that we have not quite eradicated some of our more frustrating traits, we conceded again and on another occasion could have seen a penalty awarded for a handball against Gareth Barry, but there is no doubt victory over the course of the ninety minutes was deserved.

Our best start then for 48 years and a significant one in that after surrendering a lead, we had the wherewithal to then go on and win the game against an Arsenal side who, contrary to some predictions, will be a player in the top four.

Pleasing for Hughes that it was achieved with resolve and endeavour but also with the quality to product the goals that won us the game - and this without either Tevez or Robinho.

Traits which we will certainly need in our next fixture.