Arsenal’s comfortable win over West Ham confirmed several things we already knew: firstly that West Ham are a bad team in serious trouble, secondly that Alexis Sanchez is a world class player and thirdly that he is now Arsenal’s striker for the foreseeable future. There is no no question of Olivier Giroud displacing him up front until the Chilean gets injured or hits an extended period of bad form.
What it didn’t confirm is whether Arsenal themselves are a top team on the level of Liverpool and Chelsea this season. Arsenal can only beat what is put in front of them, and they did so with ease, but despite their recent wins there’s a sense that this Arsenal team is like so many we’ve seen in recent years: ready to crumble when the going gets tough.
Of course they’ve had a fantastic November – traditionally a month where things begin to go wrong for the Gunners – but the fixtures have been very kind to them. Beating West Ham comfortably is one thing, but their performance against Manchester United last month, where they looked totally limp from kickoff onwards, was a reminder that being able to punish small teams that sit deep and let you have the ball is a great quality for a team to have, but it is not enough to win a league on its own.
With games coming up against an in form Stoke team, a dangerous Everton side and a wounded Manchester City, big tests are on the horizon over Christmas for Arsene Wenger’s men.