It's impossible to say that Arsenal didn't deserve their 3-1 win over West Ham United on Boxing Day, but for a while it looked as if they were just going to have one of those days after gifting the Hammers the opening goal against the run of play.
The first half remained scoreless despite some good chances, and in the opening moments of the second, it looked as if Arsenal were going to pick up where they left off. Theo Walcott raced forward with intent but, on the edge of the West Ham area, passed it straight to one of the home team.
They broke upfield, Wojciech Szczesny failed to hold Kevin Nolan's shot and Carlton Cole was on hand to make it 1-0 to the Hammers. And despite Arsenal's dominance of the game overall (68 percent possession at that point), they rode their luck a little bit in the 10 minutes following Cole's strike.
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Right-back Joey O'Brien put a header wide from eight yards and, after Szczesny had come out to close down Cole, leaving his goal exposed, the big striker poked the ball wide when he really should have doubled the lead for his team.
Having gone behind, questions were being asked of this Arsenal team. Could they turn it around? Do they have the spirit and the character to cope with difficult situations and keep fighting for the title? And they answered emphatically.
Walcott's first goal was a little fortunate, West Ham keeper Adrian really should have stopped what was a very savable shot, but let it spill in off his gloves. But the winger's second -- a powerful header after a Lukas Podolski cross skidded off a West Ham head -- was just reward for Arsenal's attacking endeavours.
Although they, as Wenger might say, lacked a little sharpness, they finished the game having had 29 attempts on goal. Clearly they weren't as efficient as they should be, but Sam Allardyce's team had no answer to the relentlessness of the Arsenal approach.
If there was a concern over seeing Aaron Ramsey go off injured, it was offset by the return of Podolski. The German smashed home Arsenal's third goal to make sure of the points, could have scored another before that, and provided the cross for Walcott's second.
To see him celebrate the way he did showed just how much he's missed being part of the team, and also that he's got the ability to make a decisive contribution. It's not unreasonable to suggest that after playing a very important role in Arsenal's season so far, both Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are struggling for form a little bit.
It's not uncommon for that to ebb and flow throughout a season, and the best way for any team to cope is for others to step up and take some responsibility. Three goals on Thursday from two players who have missed large chunks of the season shows there's a bit of depth to this Arsenal squad.
Ultimately, this match was a show of character from Arsene Wenger's team. They needed to take three points after a run of iffy results, and they'll look at this as a success, even if it was a little difficult at times.