By Max Burman

While Liverpool require yet another miracle to salvage even an ounce of pride from this campaign, there are indications that the sea of obstacles and doubters in the way of Arsenal's trophy aspirations may be parting.

Only two weeks ago Arsenal strolled into Alkmaar, played poorly and yet still should have won. Instead, a last-minute long ball and volley denied them. When, 5 days later they again surrendered a lead, this time 2-0, at West Ham, real alarm-bells were ringing even inside the Arsenal camp that the same mental problems that denied them the title in 2007 were plaguing the young side. Following their slackness at Upton Park, the players lined up to declare that they wouldn't make the same mistakes again.This, naturally, was dismissed as the usual all talk but no trousers that many, including my poor, misguided father, claimed to have heard before; 'We need to kill teams off' ' We were maybe too casual' etc. However, Wenger himself could not have chosen a better next game to showcase a new-found ruthlesness, if Benitez is to be believed Fergie may be doing it so why not Wenger, at home to Tottenham.

It was almost exactly a year ago that arsenal led the same fixture 4-2 only to throw it away in the last minute, prompting wild Spurs celebrations, a desperately pathetic commemorative DVD, and a year of longing for revenge for Gooners everywhere. So, on Saturday, although aided by defending that ruins the good name of Sunday League, Arsenal finished Tottenham off clinically, the fans oled and the neighbours left reeling. Most notable, perhaps was Wenger's furious throwing of his jacket as he could not tell Diaby and Song to stop going forward. Surely not, I hear you say, an Arsenal game with a good atmosphere! Well, there are occasions when the fans are great, but more seriously, Wenger wanted his team to sit back more, hold onto their lead and this could be the major change this season.

I haven't spent long on the Alkmaar game, Arsenal are simply better than the floundering Dutch champions. They were at their attacking best last night, Diaby impressing in midfield, Arshavin setting up three(2 with perfect passes), Nasri returning with a wonderful goal and Fabregas imperious yet bustling again. They all but secured their passage through the Group Stage, as expected, but it was the continuation of the all-round performance, the maintaining of their three-goal average and their Captain's sudden ability to score regularly, that made an impact.

Arsenal brushed Alkmaar aside and were able to make early changes that hardly affected the flow of their game. Robbie Keane reckoned Tottenham's squad was better than Arsenal's and the excuses being made for thir loss relied upon the abscence of Modric, Lennon and Defoe, all quality players.However, Arsenal missed Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela and Denilson, with Nasri not ready and still coasted. If all are fit, their bench would probably be the best five-a-side-team(actually 7 after rule-change) in the world; no this isn't a Carlsberg advert.

Indeed, such is their strength in depth that Arsenal won't be relying on one red-clad saviour to lead Wenger's children to glory, they have a whole tribe of them.