In his 20th year in charge at Arsenal, there isn’t a lot that Arsene Wenger hasn’t witnessed at the North London club. Trophies, the Invincibles, incredible highs and lows which all come with the top level manager baggage tag. Yes, Wenger has witnessed a lot on his watch, and it seems every landmark has coincidentally been accompanied by a crucial clash against Chelsea.

Both his 500th and 1000th game at Arsenal saw defeats against the Blues, but at the Emirates on Saturday, that winning feeling, that righting of what Wenger referred to as ” inconvenient truths,” we’re rectified, as Arsenal thrashed Chelsea in an amazing first half passage of play. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil inspired the Gunners to produce the level of firepower which visiting opposition sides once saw which became routine in the early Wenger years.

The pendulum may have swung back towards the west London club in recent years, as Wenger had to circumvent 12 Chelsea managers in his time. Ruud Gullit, Gianluca Viali, Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Avram Grant, Philippe Scolari, Guus Hiddinl, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez and now Antonio Conte have all locked horns with Wenger.

On Saturday, Chelsea’s latest incumbent saw what Arsenal are capable of producing and how it seemed his defence were unable to cope.

A joke about a journalist ringing phone preceded the press conference, as Wenger reflected on a satisfying evening’s work, and a first half which he described as ” near perfect,”

” I feel, especially in the first half, we wanted to play with high pace, put them under pressure, play at a very high collective connection and speed of passing – it worked quite well. It’s one of those moments in your life as a manager where you think ‘today is a great day’. In the first half, I think it was nearly perfect. In the second half it was a bit in-and-out but in the first half, we have shown great quality. We played with style, with pace, with movement – and that’s the kind of football we want to play.”

The 3-0 drubbing of Chelsea marked Arsenal’s fourth consecutive Premier League win, and following an opening day loss to Liverpool when Wenger said that his side were not ready, the intervening weeks have shown that the Gunners have certainly come back to form and very quickly too.

” I felt that in the last three weeks, our team was on the way up. Today was a good test for us to see if that’s real, if we could continue to move upwards. Would Chelsea stop our progression? Overall the quality of our performance today confirmed that we are on the way up. From the goalkeeper to the centre forward, today you cannot fault any performance. Now let’s continue to improve. There’s still room for improvement. Let’s show as well that we can defend together the style of football we want to play.”

Gary Cahill’s unusually calamitous defending continued as he gifted Alexis the opener. A more disciplined and defence minded Walcott has become invaluable to Wenger and he cracked in Arsenal’s second. Five minutes before the break and Alexis and Özil combined to outfox the back peddling Cahill and David Luiz for Özil to volley in the Arsenal third.

Was this the best ever Wenger had seen? The man himself was a little guarded in his response, while stressing that he and his team are capable of much more.

” Coming out straight after the game, I’d be tempted to say yes, because it’s one of the games where what we wanted to do worked very well. Yes, it’s one of the best performances in recent years.
” I’m hungrier ( now ), because I know I have not 20 years in front of me. As well because I feel more the responsibility, you’re not 20 years somewhere and you don’t care about things. I’m more conscious of what Arsenal is all about, so I think the weight of keeping people happy and making people happy is heavier than when I arrived.”
Did Wenger think that seeing off Chelsea for the first time in the Premier League in five seasons, could see Arsenal lift a fourth title under his guidance?

” It ( ending the winless streak against Chelsea ) was relevant for us because it helps us to win a big game. Between winning a big game and winning the Premier League is a long way to go. At the moment Man City looks to be well in front, but if we can maintain our performances and the quality of our performances and be consistent we might have a chance,” concluded Wenger.

There is a warmth between Wenger and Conte, and after this humbling of the Blues, the Italian will know that results will have to improve otherwise the owners ( as witnessed by his 11 predecessors ) have their own way of dealing with perceived flaws. Wenger on the other hand has been allowed to build his side’s and maintain his philosophy. More of the same excellent attacking football combined with a tough defending resolve, and who knows what Wenger may yet achieve at Arsenal.