So that’s that. Another point gained in the slow jog to a Champions League spot and another game undefeated. A draw against the newly crowned champions that somehow encapsulated a number of issues that have been scrutinised, analysed and postulated over in a season of, by and large, mediocrity for the Arsenal.
The returning ex player who left for glory or was it money or just the little boy inside. Good periods of possession but failure to turn that possession into goals. Defensive errors alongside some excellence at the back. A team that rose to the occasion on occasion but fell short of taking all of the spoils. Lack of cutting edge when it was most needed. Shortcomings in terms of substitutions and missing pieces of a jigsaw.
The sideshow over the guard of honour was nothing more than tomorrow’s chip paper and the vilification of our former captain was restrained on the whole.
Is the twenty something point gap between the two sides that pronounced on this showing? I think not. What is worth bearing in mind is that we really needed the points whereas United probably only wanted the points. Once titles have been clinched end of season tussles seldom give an accurate measure of the opponents relative quality. Having said that, the Arsenal drew with the champions and that is fact.
Three games and nine points must now be the mission statement before another, no doubt frustrating summer: our ace in the hole the Sp*rs v Chelsea game.
The bigger question is how and when do we start to turn this fixture into something more meaningful? This fixture and its corresponding one at Old Trafford used to be the only show in town: nothing matched it. Unfortunately one half of that famous double act that was box office dynamite no longer has the star quality to draw the adoring audiences. one half is not about show, it's about business. Many performers fall from grace but the true greats return for more curtain calls.