Five minutes into the fixture against Manchester United, and one could see an Arsenal-style paroxysm of relentless and ruthless attacking awaiting. Thirteen minutes later, The Emirates Stadium had witnessed United being murdered, and kicked out of the game before they even got to know what was actually happening. Well, that was the real Arsenal for you, a side that can kill the game (and the opponent) in the mere blink of an eye.
In the build-up to the fixture, there had been so many talks about how much of a threat Manchester United were on the counter-attack, and how Anthony Martial could have Per Mertesacker at his mercy and so forth. Once they kicked off, scenes were quite the opposite. Gabriel Paulista had Martial at his mercy, and the visitors had conceded on the break. That was always bound to happen after the Gunners made that fast a start to the game. In a way, they minimised their opponent's threats through the dangers they themselves posed.
For now, Arsenal are breathing fire and playing exactly the way they want to play. The same weaknesses still exist but as is always said, when Arsene Wenger's side does what it does best, the frailties look pointless. The problem, however, is, the Gunners never produce performances like they did against the Red Devils on a consistent basis, and particularly against their title rivals. They go missing - both mentally and physically - and the result is a crisis and loads of "Wenger out" campaigns.
Any and every Football enthusiast in the world knows Arsenal are never too far away from a shocker. They put up a Real Madrid-like performance in one match, follow that up nicely in the next two or three games, and all of a sudden, get beaten 3-0 by a title-rival simply because the actual Arsenal team didn't turn up. This is where consistency, of any description, plays its part.
It's a peculiar case where, despite the potential being there, the struggle for consistency goes on. There's no point in defeating Watford 5-0 and following it up by playing against Bayern Munich as if you are a second division side that has no hope at all. There's no doubting Wenger's men as title-challengers and even as possible contenders for European honours, but for their hopes to be realised, performances like the one against Manchester United must be put up over longer periods.
Arsenal had a perfect game against United in every respect, may it be mentality related, performance-related, or style of play-related. Furthermore, they played with the same arrogance as that of the great Arsenal sides of the past under Arsene Wenger. The key, though, is to repeat that, and make it a habit.