Arsenal closed in on the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
A brilliant win against AC Milan only served to paper over the cracks of the calamitous weeks before it, having suffered four consecutive defeats against the likes of Ostersunds, Manchester City twice, and Brighton. It could also mean Champions League football next season, something that is looking extremely unlikely through the usual avenue of the Premier League. "Sometimes he sends me a message when things don't go well", Wenger said. "I think it can help us in this competition as well, if we keep the wins up and playing like this then we have a chance".
Milan went into Thursday's match perhaps affected by the funeral that day of former Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who had grown up in the club's youth sector.
It meant Arsenal arrived at the San Siro at arguably the lowest point of Wenger's 22-year reign, but produced an improved performance to inflict a first defeat in 13 games on the Italians. Their side dominated the game throughout, albeit for a few scary moments nearing the end, and could, and perhaps should, have won by more if not for some good Gigio Donnarumma goalkeeping and wayward Arsenal finishing. "We never played as a compact team and they deserved the win".
Mkhitaryan's deflected strike - the first goal Milan had conceded in seven games - came during a positive start by Arsenal and Wenger needs credit for catching the home side's in-form backline cold.
Mesut Ozil came up with both assists but Mkhitaryan set the tone for a near-perfect away performance in Europe.
Arsenal are back in Premier League action on Sunday when they take on Watford at the Emirates.
It has. So long in fact that Arsenal's league campaign has basically been rendered redundant by their desperately poor form and now all that really matters is trying to win the Europa League.
"Every manager will tell you when he doesn't get results that the first thing affected is the mood, the lack of sleep".
"They've done the terrible side of football, and we know they're fantastically creative and can do all the brilliant stuff going forward, but actually the discipline of defence and the way they dug in and worked hard as a team - that's what Arsenal fans want to see". We are aware of it.