Arsenal are up and running again. The question now, and it is one at the forefront of Mikel Arteta’s mind, is how much further these players can go and at what speed.
If there was one pertinent observation from their home win over Manchester United on Wednesday, aside from the lifting of the murderous mood at the Emirates Stadium, it was the marvellous fury of Arsenal’s movement in the first half and the sudden way in which that intensity dropped in the second.
A pattern had already been established when they faded to defeat from a winning position against Chelsea on Sunday, so it is for good reason Arteta is resisting some of the excitement that has spread following victory at the third attempt. It is one thing to get his players moving again, but it is another to keep them from slowing up in games. Arteta made a call for greater fitness in the aftermath of the 2-0 win over United and he stressed the point yesterday, saying: ‘I wanted to play a different rhythm than what I was watching (before taking over).
‘I tried to implement this and at the moment it lasts until one moment in the game. They can cover the distance, probably yes, but at the intensity I want for 90 minutes? No. But it is coming. It is improving a little bit each game and it will get better.’