What will the doubters say now, Arsene?

By Avenell Dave

It's fair to say that many of us Addicts are pessimists and over the past 12 months we've had plenty to feel miserable about. No one should rest on their laurels nor should anyone take their position for granted.

But as one of the greatest poems of all time says, 'If you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, you'll be a man, my son.'

Last night's result is a testament to the manager who kept his head while all around him were losing theirs.

Make no mistake, this was a tough group and to win it with a game to spare is a fantastic achievement. Each team apart from the Gunners were their domestic champions and to have come through as group winners underlines what a fabulous achievement it has been.

I counted eight or nine players who were either long term injury victims or not at the club at the start of last season and Arsene Wenger deserves great credit for making them a team - and a competitive one at that.

Now certainly isn't the time to start crowing about our progress relative to the other English teams and we need someone else to share the goalscoring load.

Yes, RvP deserves the lion's share of the plaudits again and despite my pre-match predictions, Gervinho left his finishing boots at home again. The Ivorian needs one good performance to set him right again and I'm sure it's not far off.

Alex Song is such an enigma. His passing both on Saturday against Norwich and then again in the first half last night was pretty poor. And yet in both games he has created a goal for RvP, last night's trickery the sort of thing you expect from Lionel Messi rather than our defensive midfielder. He seems to grow as games go on and it will be fascinating to see how Frimpong or Coquelin do he is given a deserved rest. Hopefully they learn through watching him at his best.

The way we've been performing suggests to me that the disastrous start to the season has created a steely resolve amongst the players. I just can't see Fabregas or Nasri fighting for the team in the way everyone seems to be doing right now.

Wenger has a habit of taking players and making them a whole lot better. Whether it's just a case of getting the right blend, giving them the structure or confidence to succeed, it sets him apart.

So many fans were calling for Wenger to go in the summer and autumn while I urged caution and patience. Never have I been so delighted to have been proved correct.

The way the team has responded is nothing short of magnificent and I'm proud to be an Arsenal fan.

Spending big money or changing manager every year or two rarely reaps dividends. Just ask our 'friends' in west London.

There's such a long way to go and we've won nothing yet.

But we've got our pride back with strength through adversity and, dare I say it, victory through harmony.