Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0: What a difference a week makes

When you need to get your domestic season back on track after a shocking early blip, playing a side managed by Kevin Keegan is just what you need.

While most tactics-savvy managers will put the majority of their team behind the ball, try to stifle and frustrate the Gunners and hope for a breakaway to snatch a point or three (think Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa last season), Keegan’s sides have always tried to stick to his attacking philosophy.

That played right into Arsenal’s hands and puts such a different perspective on the season ahead of the second inconvenient international break.

It’s interesting to note that the only change in personnel from last weekend’s Fulham debacle was the return to Premiership duty of Cesc Fabregas, making his 200th appearance for us.

I hate it when people suggest we are a one man team, but he is certainly the mechanism that makes everything tick and his importance to the club can never be over-emphasised.

But there was plenty else to be pleased about: Manu Eboue put in a performance that defied his critics; Samir Nasri showed more purpose and grit than Alex Hleb ever did and looks as if he is going to fit in as comfortably as Bacary Sagna did last season; Kolo Toure seemed to have rediscovered his composure and form; and Manu Adebayor started trying again.

I wrote earlier in the week that I thought Adebayor would be ‘rested’ against FC Twente, and Arsene Wenger confirmed as much on Friday, refusing to divulge why the Togo forward did not start such an important, but let’s be honest, already-won match.

But there was an energy about Adebayor which suggests that, thankfully, the boo-boys have taken heed of Wenger’s pleas and realise that Adebayor is our asset, whatever went on during the summer – and that we should all get behind him.

From the moment Robin Van Persie (pictured) was tripped in the box by Fabricio Coloccini, there was a feeling that this was going to be our day.

There have been times at Emirates when such an inexplicable refereeing decision would have been met with groans and a sense of déjà vu that we were going to struggle again against clearly weaker opposition.

But that was never the case on Saturday. With Cesc and Nasri popping the ball around for fun, it was a case of when, not if, we would wrap up the points.

It was good to see RVP get off the mark from the penalty spot, and you could see what it did to his confidence – and his shooting – with a second goal no less than he deserved.

The Dutchman is getting a reputation for being slightly brittle though, so I hope that when the x-ray results come back from his ankle injury, we are not going to see him miss another three to six months while he recovers. He exudes quality and it was be a tragedy for him to miss out again, so I hope the club makes a positive announcement soon.

Despite some wayward passing at times, Denilson is slowly, ever so slowly, improving, and his goal came at the end of another fantastic move.

The Arsenal way is all about confidence and it’s a shame we have an irritating international break now, just as the momentum is going our way.

It has to be said that we had enough chances to win two games – with Adebayor, Theo Walcott and the hugely impressive Carlos Vela all spurning opportunities to turn a canter into a rout, but it hardly mattered.

Vela, who I believe will play a big part for us this season, hardly looked as if he was making his competitive debut, showing close control and strength to hold off defenders.

I don’t like to see our players getting wound up by the opposition, and the likes of Joey Barton are always going to try to get in the faces of our flair players.

But wasn’t it great to see Nasri face up to Barton and make it clear to the watching world that he’s not going to take any crap during the season ahead?

Thanks for getting so wound up about it, Mr Keegan – you told the world that with our silk, there is steel.