When Reiss Nelson’s left-footed shot flew past Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto to give Arsenal the most dramatic of comeback wins it was the start of a 24-hour period that left Arsenal fans smirking.
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Not only did the victory maintain their lead over Manchester City at the top of the table, before the five-point gap was consolidated on Sunday with a simple 3-0 victory over Fulham, but it reinforced the feeling that this is a new Arsenal. No longer the Arsenal that would buckle under pressure, the team that conceded six goals at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium and five at Anfield all in the same season and once lost 8-2 to Manchester United.
The Arsenal that was continually accused of having a “soft underbelly” has changed.
No, this Arsenal scores the game-winning goal in the 97th minute after falling down 2-0 with 30 minutes to go.
Just over 24 hours later, Manchester United, the team once known for never knowing when they were defeated, for always finding a winning goal regardless of whether their performance had merited one, and for scoring so frequently late in games that the time between the 90th and final whistle came to be known as “Fergie Time” (named after their long-serving manager Sir Alex Ferguson), was humiliated 7-0 by their old rival, Liverpool.
Notwithstanding the fact that both clubs have been in “transitional” situations since those two labels were applicable, the fact that those outcomes occurred on the same weekend seemed almost meaningful. Has the narrative finally changed?