By Richard Clarke

Those three well-deserved points may have lifted Arsenal from the fringe of the relegation places to the top half of the table but the victory at Old Trafford on Sunday could have a deeper benefit for Arsène Wenger's young side.

Two draws and one defeat in their previous three Premiership games had left the Frenchman used to justifying his tactics and backing his young side to come right. But he did not have to do that at Manchester United. For the first time this season in domestic football the result spoke for itself. It substantiated everything he had said to a sometimes cynical media but, more importantly, allayed any fears in the minds of his squad.

"People come quickly to conclusions and I know that I had to take the right distance," said Wenger. "We had played three games. We had one bad one and so we were down there.

"I am not stupid enough to think that nothing can happen to us. There are teams who are very good but when a doubt creeps in they suddenly become average. I am happy today not only for the victory but because it gives the team the belief to come up and play the game we want to play.

"You can tell the players they are great but if it is not confirmed by the points somewhere subconsciously it has an influence and you are not as convincing. If it is confirmed by the result [it's different].

"I don't know if it is coincidence but, in the first three games, we did not get what we deserved or what we could have got. Since Middlesbrough we have gone to Hamburg and won there in the Champions League. Now we have gone to Manchester United and won there. If you don't have special quality you don't do that."

14/1 - Arsenal to win the 2006/07 Champions League

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Richard Clarke 18 Sep 2006