Tottenham showed Arsenal how to blow a team away – so why can’t they repeat Manchester United display more often?

This time for Arsenal the boots were on the other feet. Last Sunday at Tottenham they were blown away by a surge of energy at the start of the second half, and had no way back in a game they lost 2-0.

But here at the Emirates they did the same thing to Manchester United. Even the timing of the goals, separated by three minutes roughly 10 minutes after the restart, was almost exactly the same as at White Hart Lane last week.

It was impressive to see Arsenal play this way, with focus, character and balance, not least because that has been so lacking from so many of their recent performances. This was, with not much competition, their best display in months. It was better than their unlikely FA Cup semi-final defeat of Manchester City, which owed more to digging in, staying in the game, and waiting for City to let them in.

Even the back three system, which looked alien to many of the Arsenal players last week, worked perfectly well here. Of course the simple and obvious difference is that Manchester United, even at their best, are nowhere near the level of Tottenham. That much is proved by looking at the league table. And this was nowhere near United at full pelt, with Jose Mourinho resting his best players.

And yet you can only beat the opposition in front of you and here Arsenal did just that. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was excellent again. He dominated the right wing, played the perfect cross for Danny Welbeck’s header and never gave Matteo Darmian a second of rest. He may prefer playing in the middle – all players do – but at wing-back he has the perfect opportunity to showcase his strengths, his athleticism and his delivery.

Aaron Ramsey gave his best performance of the season too, in a midfield anchored by Granit Xhaka. It has been another frustrating year for Ramsey, who has struggled with muscle injuries and with a broken toe, but he gives Arsenal something that no-one else…

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