It is more than a bit of an exaggeration for Cesc Fabregas to declare that without Arsène Wenger "apart from Gallas and Silvestre all the rest of us may never have had the chance to play football" but it's a testimony to the importance of the Arsenal manager that, probably, Europe's most talented young midfielder still felt the urge to say it.
In the wake of Arsenal's victory there was much scope for feelings of vindication but, above all, a sense of a re-affirmation in the beliefs that underpin Wenger and the faith he has placed in the young players he has nurtured. "We owe him a lot of things and we have to show that on the pitch," Fabregas added. "We definitely knew there would be some talk about Arsenal, 'are they capable of winning anything?' But we knew that, we are professionals, we don't have to be affected."
Wenger claimed, understandably, not to have contemplated what defeat would have meant but admitted that he has been feeling under pressure, given his very individual policy of almost totally backing youth over experience and not being more active in the transfer market when it has appeared the obvious thing to do to shore up the weaknesses in his squad.
"It's not easy," Wenger said of his resistance. "You need some strength to do that because the easier part is to take a player of 28 and to play him. But we went for this job and the best way you can do is to keep faith in them because you cannot say A B and not C. You build a player like Fabregas and when he's 19, you put a player in front of him who is 26 and maybe in the short-term he will do better, but you will lose the player."
Still, money was spent in the summer – with £12m committed to signing Samir Nasri from Marseilles. With two goals and a direct, powerful display against the league champions the 21-year-old midfielder provided further satisfaction for Wenger (pictured left with Nasri).
"He is the quickest adapter to the game in England," the manager said of the French international.
It was the first time that Nasri, never regarded as a prolific goalscorer but who now has five goals in 12 appearances, has struck twice in a game, a match he described as "the greatest of my career so far" and one played in front of his father, who usually does not watch his son perform.
"We know our quality, our forces, our strength, we know what we can do, and we can definitely achieve the title this season," Nasri said.
"Mentally we won a point against United by winning that game. We know that the title could be achieved by the games against Liverpool Chelsea and United. Maybe we don't have the experience but it was a great answer to show how mature we've become."Reuse content