Arsenal and Everton have restored the pride of their fans and Trent Alexander-Arnold still has the support of his. Manchester United may not.
The green light from Celebration Police commissioner Richard Keys said it all. Arsenal earned their right to drink it in and savour the moment. The players deserved to be honoured. The supporters undoubtedly merited acclaim. The manager and his coaching staff warranted veneration. The sense of mutual exaltation was palpable.
Piece by piece, Arsenal are shedding aspects of the cliched reputation they had carefully cultivated over the last decade and a half. This is no longer a pretty but weak team which can be intimidated and cowed into defeat. This is no longer a side without leaders, nor a group without bite. And the Emirates library has rarely felt quite so raucous.
The ease with which Arsenal dominated their most bitter rivals helped in that regard, but this was no derby day exception to a rule of otherwise subdued atmosphere. A feeling of positivity has been growing all season and it is pervading the red side of north London without developing into arrogance, hubris or undue expectation.
Mikel Arteta mentioned two key words after the game. He emphasised how the players had “connected” with both each other and the supporters, thus forming an “energy” which Tottenham failed to harness.
“We have a really meaningful opportunity to give a lot of people happiness on a beautiful day and we have delivered that and it is a really great feeling,” the Spaniard said. It can be an addictive one, too. Seven consecutive home Premier League wins – their longest such run under Arteta – sums up that self-fulfilling cycle. For the first time in a while, Arsenal feel like a team in every aspect, with everyone pulling together in the same direction.
That Norwegian bloke is pretty handy but at some point there needs to be more focus on the other side of this double act.
Some remarkably obtuse and generally quite stupid things were written about Phil Foden in the not-too-distant past. One expert suggested a two-year loan elsewhere. Another pundit scoffed at his last Manchester City contract extension.
The claim now is that Foden is in line for a new deal with wages which will represent his importance to the team. He is as crucial a cog in this machine as anyone and the way he has been guided to that point has been absolutely impeccable.
Replacing Lionel Messi as the youngest player to reach 50 goals for Pep Guardiola is quite something. It feels like Haaland’s brilliance might have to be enjoyed in passing, as just another stop on his journey to achieving era-defining omnipotence. Manchester City can console themselves with the prospect of a generational academy product staying for life.