With the minimum of effort, too. Last week they encountered a Chelsea with an FA Cup semi-final on their minds, this week it was a below-strength Leicester regrouping for the Coca-Cola Cup final replay against Middlesbrough on Wednesday. Arsenal duly strolled to a fifth victory in six matches - all five with clean sheets - thanks to goals by Tony Adams, returning after an ankle injury to excellent effect, and David Platt.
Such is Manchester United's mood at the moment, though improved by victory at Blackburn, they might feel tempted to protest at the team Leicester fielded yesterday - no fewer than eight of last Sunday's final starting line-up either rested or nursing knocks. Usually Leicester are like chewing gum on your shoe; yesterday they were easily polished off.
Winning their last four matches, at home against Blackburn and Newcastle, away to Coventry and Derby, does not look beyond Arsenal.
"Our real target is to get into Europe," said the Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger. "I think 64 points should be enough and after that we will see where we can finish. It is not impossible to win the title but when you see Manchester United winning again, realistically you would like to be in their position."
Arsenal might have had an early lead yesterday when Patrick Vieira sent Lee Dixon clear on the right and, from his cross, Ian Wright at the far post headed down and just wide. It was an example of how effortlessly Vieira had assumed control of the centre of the field.
Around him, Arsenal looked assured and potent. One tackle from the telescopic Vieira legs that stole possession from their defensive rock, Matt Elliott, seemed almost to shock Leicester, serving to lift Arsenal to boot. The again excellent Dennis Bergkamp's chest control, turn and through-ball to Nigel Winterburn was also exquisite.
The only surprise was that it took Arsenal so long to open the scoring. Adams broke out of defence with the ball and a long cross-field pass sent Bergkamp scurrying down the right. When the cross came back Adams was on hand to dive and head home at the far post. It was certainly a goal worth waiting for.
The interval barely interrupted the flow, Kasey Keller having to turn away Dixon's 20-yard shot within 30 seconds of the restart. Bergkamp remained an incisive threat. Again the creator, dropping off into space as was required against a thick blue back line, he teased the Leicester defence before threading a ball into Platt's path and his low cross shot on the turn found the far corner.
Only after the introduction of Steve Claridge and Muzzy Izzet, replacing the concussed Colin Hill who had been made captain against his former club, did Leicester pose any threat. The closest they came was when the underemployed David Seaman fumbled Elliott's header from Steve Guppy's corner on to a post. "It would have been undeserved," admitted the Leicester manager, Martin O'Neill.
Eager, fit, free from injury and suspensions, Arsenal have an ominous look to them. The 38-game title may never have been won with as few as 75 points but, as Middlesbrough have proved in reaching Wembley once already this season, there is a first time for everything.Reuse content