Morning folks and welcome to another Monday in which we can all celebrate that Arsenal have done it again; they’ve picked up three points on the road and that means that regardless of what happens tomorrow night between City and Spurs, we go in to the last game of the season with perhaps the smallest of hope, but hope nonetheless.

But we didn’t make it easy for ourselves yesterday, that’s for sure, because it was hardly a vintage performance. Arteta named another unchanged side from the last few weeks and with United missing more players because Rashford and Bruno were both not deemed fit to start or play any part in the match day squad, the United team looked a shell of a squad with a bunch of youngsters thrown in. There were some Arsenal fans who were speculating that this could be an opportunity for us to bolster that goal difference tally, but I think a big chunk of us – certainly me included – knew that all we had to really do would be to get the win by any means necessary.

And ultimately we did. We actually started off for the first five minutes really well. United sat deep, tucked in compactly defensively and let us have the ball, so we popped the ball around like a side who had come for a statement win. I’ll admit to thinking that myself after five minutes, but on about five or six minutes Partey gave the ball away in the middle of the park and United sprang us in transition. When you look back at the game as a whole we stood firm and they never created tonnes of chances, but that Partey mistake set the tone for the rest of the game, because both he and Odegaard gave the ball away a number of times in the middle of the park and on each occasion it looked as though they were going to spring something on us. It speaks to the lack of quality in that United side that they couldn’t hurt us though, because I thought yesterday was the poorest we’ve seen Arsenal play in some time. Paul Merson said afterwards that it looked like an Arsenal side in second gear – that was certainly the case it felt like yesterday and we were quite sloppy throughout, with Havertz also making a number of misplaced passes and Ben White seeming uncharacteristically lethargic in some of his pressing and the way he was spun by Garnacho some times.

But what you do have to say about this Arsenal team is that they have grit, will and determination to grind out results, which the action in the 20th minute and the subsequent defending afterwards showed. Quite what Casemiro was doing ambling forward to United’s back line is anyone’s guess, but his jogging was just what we needed as Havertz was able to be set in behind to square to Leo to slot in within six yards. You probably have to blame United’s defending, but once again both Trossard and Havertz have delivered in crunch moments in important games and that proved to be the most decisive moment of yesterday’s match at crumbling Old Trafford.

Trossard now has 12 goals and one assist for the season and has been bagging goals in such important games this season. And Havertz is up to 19 goal involvements (12 goals and seven assists) this season. I remember many of us saying that if we’re going to get anywhere near competing for the title this season then the likes of Jesus and Martinelli were going to need to be firing on all cylinders in the final weeks and months of the season, but I don’t think many of us predicted that it would be Havertz and Trossard who would be combining together to drag us over the line in a period of the season that on paper looks so difficult.

And it has been difficult at times, but we’ve managed to navigate it really impressively and although I suspect it will end up with us empty-handed in the end, you have to say that this Arsenal team have been so impressive so far. I honestly looked at our games in April and May and thought to myself that there was absolutely no chance we were going to be able to pick up the number of points we’ve picked up. Historically we’ve always lost to City away, we’ve got a shocking record at Old Trafford and the Toilet Bowl stadium, so to have this Arsenal team come out of this season and 2024 with just that one blip against Villa really standing out is so impressive. Mikel Arteta and his players should be proud of their achievements no matter what. If Man City do what is expected and win their last two matches then they will have won 10 matches in a row since playing us. That’s what you have to be up against and be better than so what Arteta has achieved with this team should be commended. We’ve beaten last season’s points tally and I saw a stat today that suggested that in seven of Alex Ferguson’s 13 season’s United finished as champions with fewer points. This is an Arsenal side that deserves a trophy to their name, it’s just unfortunate that we are in an era where City are probably the best ever Premier League dynasty that has existed. They have the most money, they have the best manager, they have the best squad and they could end up winning the league four times in a row.

Arsenal have done their job though. We will be taking it to the last game of the season and although I think most of us will have accepted our fate by then, we can be pleased that we’re in contention.

There’s not really a lot else to say on the game yesterday, to be honest, because ultimately it felt like quite a routine win. On the Same Old Arsenal pod yesterday I talked to James and Amanda about how if this result happened in October you’d just chalk it down as one of those games where you get the game done and move on. But we had the psychological stress of it being a ground we are poor in, the fact we were in the crunch time of a Premier League title race right at the death, as well as the fact that we’re facing off against arguably the best City side ever. And we came through it. It also ensures that we will be guaranteed second place at the very least as well which, if I am honest, on the preview pod show we did at the beginning of the season I said I thought we were the third best team in the league and that’s where we’d finish. Nope – we definitely are the second best side and that is something to be pleased about.

Right, that’s me done for today. You have yourselves a good one and I’ll be back tomorrow with some more thoughts.