Football can’t always be free flowing, exhilarating, dominant with goals galore. Football is often a low scoring sport and even some of the best Arsenal teams I’ve ever witnessed have had some pretty drab affairs.

So having sat through an unimpressive 1-0 win over a less than average FC Zurich side yesterday in the passenger seat of a Honda SUC driving through the Sierra Nevada mountains on a dodgy stream, my main reflections on what looked like a pretty uncomfortable evening at the Emirates (mainly in the second half), is just that we did what we needed to do.

That’s it.

‘Job done’, as Arteta said afterwards and I guess that’s how you have to see it. I was in and out of signal so I did t catch the entire game minute-by-minute, but we looked to have held Zurich back at arms length other than a few opportunities and in the second half they called up a graphic on BT sport which showed that Zurich hadn’t mustered a shot on target. I think that was about five minutes before they scored their disallowed goal and when Ramsdale did make that smart save for the first shot they took, it was the only real chance they’d had until that point I think.

As fans we’re always more nervous than the players on the pitch and I think we project worser outcomes than are actually playing out. Once again in this competition though, although they were a few yards from being on side, if they had have scored that goal, I suspect we’d have just upped the tempo and applied even more pressure. From what I saw it felt like we were playing within ourselves and perhaps that’s something that I personally need to get more comfortable with; perhaps this team is good enough to hold on to one go leads more often than not and certainly in this competition we’ve shown that we’re capable of it. But it only takes one late lapse to cancel out all of the control of the ball in the world and when you get to the last ten minutes of games you increase the risk of a sucker punch, so it’s not a habit I want this Arsenal team to start developing.

But, like I say, I think we played within ourselves and whilst Arteta and the players would never admit that a few might have been holding out with one eye on Sunday, there will also be a few that won’t start at Stamford Bridge and I would have hoped for those players to be able to step up and give the manager questions to ask himself. We all know Holding won’t play and isn’t anywhere near the level required week-in, week-out, in the Premier League, so I don’t really hold him in the ‘out to impress’ category. To a lesser extent you could potentially argue that Eddie is in a similar boat, although unlike Holding I would have expected more from him yesterday. He played as a left winger though and I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work. I don’t really understand why we couldn’t have just dropped Nelson in to that position and had Marquinhos wide right, but I suppose Arteta wanted to give Gabby Jesus another opportunity to end his goal drought.

The problem was that it just didn’t happen and whilst he once again failed to hit the target, he did once again have all round impressive play to help impact the team. There are some getting more and more worried now; not me though, because if he doesn’t score another goal all season but is vital in us bagging an extra 30 goals where he is putting things on for his teammates, then that’s fine by me. I don’t care who scores for The Arsenal, as long as we do score and score more than once per game would be preferable, thank you very much.

It didn’t happen yesterday and it didn’t happen for Gabby J or many of those Arsenal players who we all want to impress. I thought Vieira and Sambi were functional. They were fine. I guess it’s a bit like the performance and result – job done – but no more than that. Vieira might have scored in the first half and he showed some nice touches like Sambi, but nothing that will have them banging down the managers door and demanding a Premier League start. Reiss was a little more functional too, but his performance against Forest was a high bar to set and so I don’t think anybody should expect him to match that every week. Perhaps the fact that he wasn’t playing in amongst the first teamers who have been playing every week made a difference? There were a few changes made by Arteta to rotate – including the return of Elneny which is good and allows Sambi to start as an eight – and sometimes when you make loads of changes you get stuttering performances like the one yesterday. But there will be plenty of learnings to take away for those rotated players and I’m sure Arteta and his coaching staff will have plenty of things to discuss with each of them at London Colney over the coming days.

The other good news was that Zinchenko made the bench and with Tierney playing a full 90 yesterday I suspect that the Ukrainian will get the nod on Sunday at the Bridge. It is a welcome return, but perhaps a little harsh on Tierney who as Arteta said afterwards, is doing everything right in trying to win his Premier League place back. His finish was superb for the overall match winner yesterday and he was the best player on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt yesterday. Arteta and Arsenal will manage him on Sunday and it’ll probably be Zinchenko coming in now for him, but for Wolves in a weeks time I think Arteta has a lot of thinking to do. And part of that is because of…

…Tomiyasu’s injury. That’s such a shame for him as he came on in the second half just to get minutes in his legs I think, so to see him hobble off with what looks like a muscular injury is such a shame. We all love Tomi, but he does break down and if that’s his World Cup over then that will be such a shame. I hope not. If it keeps him out for a couple of weeks and if Arsenal just took him off as they didn’t want to risk anything then that’s fine, but the look on his face carried a worried expression and with his luck with injuries I think it could be bad news.

It might be bad news for us too because whilst Ben White has been first choice right back and playing well, we’re only a White knock away from having to play Cedric there and whilst I have no qualms about him coming on in a game like yesterday’s against an inferior opposition in a competition in which we’ve already qualified, the last thing I’d want to see is him up against a Chelsea or a Wolves. Fingers crossed we don’t have to see that.

And we now don’t have to see any more Europa League until February or March I think. By topping the group we avoid an extra game in the competition next round and that hopefully creates some breathing space in terms of fixture congestion. Certainly more than United, who yesterday finished second and now literally don’t have a space in which they can play their two games unless they get knocked out of cup competitions.

So that’s that then. Job done, we move on to Sunday, which will be another massive test for Arteta’s side.

Catch you all…erm…at some stage…still in the States for another week so will continue to be intermittent on the ramblings – and may not happen for a few days as I’m now Vegas bound for some booze and more booze.

Laters people.