This Wolves team should not be underestimated. They are a good and organised side who play decent football and will cause some upsets this year. Their 10 points from 11 games shows they are no whipping boys, and this fixture 12 months ago would probably have been the usual soft Arsenal performance, out-muscled and out-fought, defensively frail and prone to errors.
And make no mistake, Wolves threw everything at us for the first 20 minutes. Gallas diving in horribly against Evans-Blake (I think) miles up the field, leading to a corner to be conceded and a booking for Billy. Arsenal's split zonal and man-marking system was exposed from a well delivered the corner and Wolves almost scored.
The omens were poor, but luck was somewhat on our side, especially in the shape of the hapless Zubar. The big French defender managed to concede an entirely unnecessary free kick against Eduardo, which Vermaelen met and forced a corner, which was then well delivered into the six yard box for Zubar to shin into his own net under pressure from Eduardo.
And from that moment onwards, there only seemed one way the game would go. Because rather than sit back and try and force an equaliser over the remaining 70 minutes of the game, Wolves decided to push forwards and take us on head-to-head. Which is exactly what we wanted, as acres of space opened up in midfield for Fabregas, Arshavin and the impressive Rambo to exploit. However, our second goal was outrageously lucky, as Eduardo's chip back to Rambo was deflected cruelly into the top right hand corner.
However, Arsenal's third goal was a thing of genuine beauty. Fabregas, RVP and Sagna combined down the right in a move built by the composure and accuracy of the passing, plus the willingness of all three players to make intelligent and direct runs. RVP's softening of the ball into Cesc's route to score was something that the great Dennis Bergjamp would be proud of, and a lummox like Adebayor would be incapable of. And it was great to see all three players applaud each other's efforts as they celebrated the goal afterwards.
In contrast, the second half was a bit more drab, as Arsenal added a fourth through Arshavin, the ball coming through a crowd of players from a corner and not being spotted by the keeper. That said, for all our injury problems (and I don't know what the news is on Diaby), it was incredible that Wenger could withdraw Eduardo and Arshavin, both of whom had put in a solid shift, to be replaced by Rosicky and Nasri, both of whom themselves returning to match fitness after injury.
It also speaks volumes of Rambo, who also was solid if not brilliant, that Wenger chose to give the youngster a full 90 mins with that talent on the bench. If Rambo can get another few games under his belt in the next few months, then with Denilson also coming back into contention, there is a feeling that we will have some cover in midfield when Song goes off to the ACN in January. Because make no mistake, along with Vermaelen, Alex Song has been brilliant this season for Arsenal. A real workhorse in midfield, endlessly closing down the opposition and covering back when Gallas needs some help. Song is also excellent in possession, and whilst Cesc is having a stormer again this season, I put a lot of Cesc's success down to the quality of the platform that Song is giving him.
At the moment, Arsenal are making football look a simple game. We are simply better in every department that the opposition. The fact that we utterly dominated Spurs last weekend in a game that should have resulted in a bigger scoreline that 3-0 is extremely encouraging, since it suggests that we are not simply flat track bullies.
If we dispatch Sunderland on the 21 November, which will not be an easy game, then we get our next shot at one of the big boys when Chelsea come to the Emirates on 29 November. And say it quietly, but I think we now have the tools to give the Chelsea grandads a beating.