RvP shows why he is vital for Arsenal

By Avenell Dave

This is as average a Premier League as I can remember. 

I was thinking over Xmas that our '98 or 04 teams would dominate this league right now.  M*nure have been weakened since 08 by the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez while the Ch*vs are getting older and weaker. 

While part of me admires Arsene Wenger's determination to build organically, we're still a way off being a side the fans can trust to turn up, compete and fulfil their potential.  Maybe last night's result - our best at home for at least two years I'd suggest - will be a watershed and we have to take the positives that come with such a win without getting carried away. 

While I still believe Woijech Szczesny will soon be our number one, one man to emerge as a star in our defence is Johann Djourou. The Swiss international never looked as commanding as his frame suggested he could be when he first started playing for us, and last season's injury raised doubts about his long term future. 

Whether it is a bad spell or a genuine decline, have you ever seen such a limp performance from Didier Drogba? Much credit must go to Djourou for winning so much of the ball and - dare I say it - looking like a young Sol Campbell. If he plays like that consistently, he's going to be first choice. 

What elates and galls me in equal quantity is the importance of the Cesc Fabregas/RvP axis.  They've hardly played together during their time at Arsenal - the stats of the number of games they've both started is surprisingly low. 

RvP is a luxury I'd be quite happy to sell to Bayern for £25m but he showed last night why, when fit, he is such an important player for us. He forces defenders into mistakes, he has tricks that they simply don't expect, his workrate is superb and he can deliver a mean dead ball. 

With Cesc growing as the game went on, he too looked far better than earlier in the season and it just showed once more how much we need to keep them fit. 

I read that Cesc will miss Wigan tomorrow, which is a shame, but if Alex Song and Theo Walcott start putting in performances like they did last night, it will make a huge difference to our team.

The Ch*vs can argue that they had players returning who weren't match fit - Fat Frank and Essien - but they had no less game time than RvP and Cesc.

When you see that we restricted them to just one shot - the lowest they have recorded for years - and that they have dropped 18 of the last 24 points, you can see they have problems. Long may it continue, but remember how well they played at the start of the season and there's no reason why they can't do that again. Write them off at your peril.

Reading Twitter yesterday and chatting in the pub, hardly anyone had hopes of getting anything from the game. Our lowered expectations and inferiority complex against our rivals have shrouded us for too long.

Wenger is right when he says that we've been a lot closer in the away games this season. But we've still lost all the big games apart from Citeh.

Our players must show that they can put in that sort of level of performance every week and then we can start to gain the belief and confidence that can turn this season into something special. 

Wigan and Birmingham are just as important as last night - and getting the team focused for those games may be Wenger's biggest challenge.