Arsenal worlds away from nervy Bournemouth win as Arteta hopes to prove Sir Alex Ferguson right

Two home games against Bournemouth. Two 98th minute goals. The feeling around them could not be more different, though.

Last year's game will go down in infamy as possibly the greatest day the Emirates Stadium has seen. Looking back on it in the cold light of day, even Mikel Arteta admits that those kind of helter-skelter matches cost Arsenal in the end, though.

"When you play every three days and you put more physical and mental stress and demands in the later stages of matches, there’s an accumulation there," the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference. "Normally the teams that get to the latter stages [of a title race], you see how dominant they are in matches, the subs that they make. That’s something that is pretty relevant I think."

Games like that, while entertaining for the neutral, are akin to a sugar rush. The high is fantastic, but the crash is inevitable.

Arsenal have sustained this title challenge on a far more balanced diet of comfortable victories this season. Make no mistake, there were a few hairy moments in this one. David Raya is probably fortunate to be picking up the Premier League golden glove award after punching weakly for Antoine Semenyo's disallowed goal, and Bournemouth had a threat.

The difference is that Arsenal can manage those moments now.

READ MORE: Arsenal player ratings vs Bournemouth as Bukayo Saka steps up and Kai Havertz good again

READ MORE: Every word Mikel Arteta said on Bukayo Saka Arsenal form, VAR decisions and Bournemouth win

It was at this exact stage last season where they crumbled against Brighton after failing to go in front early on. Although there were a few nerves in the crowd this time around, Arsenal's players never looked short on the belief that they could get over the line.

As Joe Cole noted on TNT Sports' coverage of the game at half-time: "You could feel the tension building [before Bukayo Saka's penalty] because Arsenal missed a huge amount of chances. And when you're out there and you're missing chances in a game you're expected to win, you suddenly think to yourself 'is it going to be one of them days where it doesn't happen for us?'"

One key area the Gunners have improved is defensively. Arteta's side have conceded just 28 goals in their 26 games - four fewer than Man City ahead of their game against Wolves. And as Sir Alex Ferguson once opined, "attack wins you games, defence wins you titles".

You could put it down to a simple case of this Arsenal side being a year older and a year wiser, but as Arteta was keen to state after the game, age is not necessarily a guarantee of wisdom in football.

"For some teams it takes them five or 10 years to achieve it," he said. "At the end we’re trying to do the right things. The energy and commitment that the boys put in is unbelievable. Hopefully it will pay off."

Saka was the personification of the healthier mindset this Arsenal side now possess, scoring a penalty at a key stage of the season where last year he missed one at West Ham. "I see a different edge to him in the way he competes," Arteta said. "Not the way he plays but the way he competes."

Another of the key changes from last season are, of course, the acquisitions Arsenal have been able to make. Kai Havertz won Saka’s penalty, while Declan Rice assisted Leandro Trossard's goal before securing the victory with a third late on - his seventh strike of a remarkable campaign.

"If we spend money we'd better do it wisely and in the most effective way," Arteta joked when asked after the game about last summer's arrivals. "We're really happy with the recruitment that we had. It had a big impact in the team, it has raised not only the level of the team but the level of the rest of the players as well. You see today we had some big performances from a lot of individuals. If we want to be at that stage you need that."

Some may yearn for the hectic energy that defined Arsenal’s title charge last season. If this more serene approach means they're proving Ferguson's old quote correct and lifting the Premier League trophy at the Emirates Stadium in two weeks, there are few who will care too much.