As far as comfortable wins though, this will be right up there this season. Three nil at home is always a score that oozes a comfortable vibe and a clean sheet after the madness at Stamford Bridge was a warm welcome in the league.

From the moment that Robin Van Persie slotted home from ten yards after Walcott’s saved shot, this game was always in the bag.

There was a new feeling of absolute confidence and calmness around the Emirates which is starting to become a regular feeling after our nightmare start to the season. With West Brom having no Shane Long or Odemwingie in their side, they posed little threat to the Arsenal goal.

Robin and Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey showed once again today why there is life after Cesc. As the season progresses Aaron is starting to boss the central midfield position, and with Arteta and Song beside him, he is in his element. His pass that led to the first goal today was exquisite and we can look forward to him providing class like that throughout the season.

As for Robin, what can we say about this man? The sooner he gets pen to paper on a new contract the better for all Arsenal fans out there praying that this isn’t a repeat of the Nasri affair. Due to the loss of Cesc and Samir Nasri, Mr Persie has become one of the most important players at the club for years.

I think it’s unfair to label us as a one man team, but the stats don’t lie. Today he was magnificent. Scoring one and creating two, this guy really does have it all. For me, he and Thomas Vermaelen must stay fit all year for our season to be a success.

Vermaelen’s goal today was a reminder of his ability to score from defence, and his partnership with Koscielny was promising as they dominated aerially and on the ground. Leaving Mertesacker on the bench showed the strength of our squad and to have serious competition for the centre back position is a massive plus. In my opinion Mertesacker and Vermaelen will start most games, due to the pure height and physicality of the German and Vermaelen is by far the best centre back at the club.

Arsenal v MarseilleWell, that was the definition of a 0-0. Marseille gave Arsenal a fright in the opening 20 minutes, splitting the new partnership of Mertesacker and Vermaelen apart numerous times, but Arsenal settled into their rhythm quite efficiently. A lack of sharpness in the final third was our downfall, perhaps brought on from fatigue after the heroics at Stamford Bridge, and the game fizzled out rather quickly in the second half.

Return of the Verminator

In what was certainly a tale of two defences playing well, it was pleasant to see the return of our vice-captain. He looked his usual assured and competitive self, making some great tackles on the edge of the box and bombing forward on a few occasions. Wenger decided to rest Koscielny despite his excellent season thus far, partnering Vermaelen with our tall German. His knack for intercepting was put to good use a few times and it’s clear he’s a good reader of the game. I just wish he would be more aggressive in the air, a 6 foot 6 centre back should be expected to attack most aerial balls. Van Persie whipped in an excellent cross in the dying minutes of the game and he looked like he didn’t want to get to it. Hopefully this is something he will develop playing more in the Premiership.

Andre Santos was his usual terrifying self, electric going forward but I don’t think he even considers defending as his duty. As Lee Dixon pointed out he needs to learn when to get forward and when to not leave himself exposed to a counter attack. On that note, Song had an excellent game, breaking up counter attacks and bossing the midfield. It was encouraging to see him tell Arteta and Ramsey who to go to and hopefully he can keep this form going. On the other flank, Jenkinson really impressed me. He seems to have gotten over the nightmare at Old Trafford and is growing with each game, his crossing ability is nothing short of fantastic at times. I do have to take the time to applaud Szcezsny for his Cruyff turns in the box as a Marseille player beared down upon him, I hope he doesn’t desire to give Arsenal fans a heart attack again very soon though.

Today’s game reminded me a lot about how I defend on FIFA12, need I explain more? Lee Dixon correctly pointed out recently that the art of defending is going out the game and to some degree he is right. When you think of the best defenders in the world you can only think of the aging players who have been around for years. Today’s game demonstrated open attacking football, just the way Arsenal love to play and love to play against. Just when everyone thought Arsenal were in crisis we find ourselves now three points behind Chelsea after winning seven of the last eight games.

What’s your dream CB pairing?

It’s hard to be either ecstatic about the result or be a bit pessimistic because of the nature of our defending. Again we conceded a goal from a set piece, again our eleven-foot German failed to clear a cross with his head that allowed the opener and then letting John Terry poke home from a corner. Then again we beat Chelsea in their own back yard, scoring five goals and our worst player on the pitch Santos even scored against them.

For a team so often accused of not taking the Carling Cup seriously, our record in it is undeniable. The 2-1 victory over Bolton tonight secured our place in the quarter finals for the ninth year in a row and kept our unbeaten home record in the domestic cups intact. I always enjoy the chance to see Wenger’s more promising youngsters in action but the saviours tonight took the form of the little Russian and new signing Park.

Experience Essential

Vermaelen made his long-awaited return and immediately showed why he’s so desperately needed in our back line. His assured presence and commands to the back line and midfield ensured Arsenal didn’t fall apart when Bolton went ahead just after the start of the second half. He also reminded us of his goal-scoring ability with a stinging free-kick that a full-stretch Bogdan struggled to keep out. He came off towards the end with an injury problem, but thankfully Wenger says it was just a precaution and the player himself on his Twitter confirmed it was a minor cramp.

His partner at centre-half, the troubled Squillaci, looked jittery for the majority of the first half but soon settled down to put in a decent performance, no doubt aided by having a figure like Vermaelen beside him. The harshly criticized Fabianski, while sometimes erratic in his decision making, impressed me. He prevented extra-time with an excellent reflex save and definitely kept Arsenal in the tie, although he is nowhere near challenging the exceptional Szczesny for the number 1 jersey.

Benayoun put in yet another energetic performance, showing he isn’t the panic buy many pundits made him out to be with a deftly executed swivel and snap shot that just skimmed past the post.

For a team like Arsenal, chasing a top four spot, its games like today against Stoke that make the difference. With a Carling Cup game Tuesday where RVP isn’t likely to play it was certainly a surprise to see our captain benched and Chamakh given a chance to prove his worth. On a day where Manchester City will be stealing all the headlines quite frankly I’m glad Arsenal can sit in the media shadow increasing our run of form to have ‘one’ six games out of seven.

Lost in the Park

All eyes were on Chamakh today after unwanted media attention about his current run of form and whether or not he’ll be an Arsenal player come January. Today certainly wasn’t his day and was really only involved in two key moves, one being his first half header from an Arteta corner which went wide and a stone cold penalty decision not given by todays referee Lee Mason.  Chamakh looks too isolated up the top on his own and he’s certainly nowhere near as good as RVP in keeping the ball so I can really only see him come good in a 442 formation with a second striker to aid him, what about Park?