While swatting aside relegation-certainties Burnley was most definitely an enjoyable spectacle for the Arsenal fans in attendance at Emirates Stadium, there was nothing to get truly excited about - that is until about the 80th minute.
A ripple of excitement transformed into loud cheers as the Gunners faithful realised who it was that was entering the pitch. Theo Walcott replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to make his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt since January 6.
Virtually ten months of recovery had culminated in this point and the England international's return was greeted heartily. It was fortunate that the score was 2-0 against a side that have yet to win a match this season and are the only club to do so in this country's four professional divisions.
It would have been wrong to expect anything particularly special from Walcott with so little time left in the match and having spent so long out of the game, but he managed to show a couple of glimpses of brilliance and left the crowd thinking about what is to come.
Alexis Sanchez was, again, the orchestrator of the victory
There was one turn and shot while under a fair bit of pressure from Burnley defenders in the box that suggested he had not lost his eye for goal, and a delightful dined cross to the back post where Lukas Podolski was waiting to thunder a volley into the post.
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Is it really time to get excited?
Reading too much into a couple of brief moments during the dying embers of a game that already been well won is probably not a wise move, though the nature of that win is just the sort of thing to get excited about.
Alexis Sanchez was the orchestrator of the victory in a display that was becoming increasingly frustrating until he rose between two Burnley defenders in the 70th minute on the end of a Calum Chambers cross to head down the opener.
Walcott's calculated and intelligent runs dovetailing nicely with the more improvised attacks of Sanchez
Though they were more lively than in recent weeks, Arsene Wenger's men weren't exactly firing on all cylinders throughout and, but for the brilliance of the Chilean, this could just as easily have been a familiar ordeal for fans of the north London club, possibly ending with Yaya Sanogo bundling him the winner in then 89th minute.
So much to look forward to
It was't though and Sanchez is a fantastic player who is currently inspiring the Gunners to scraping win from games where they have not looked certain. The return of Walcott could mean him inspiring a team in form to greater heights than they were able to manage last season.
Walcott's pace and movement in behind defences should leave more space for Sanchez to do his wriggling and dribbling.
It could be the perfect yin and yang partnership to drive Arsenal forward; Walcott's calculated and intelligent runs dovetailing nicely with the more improvised attacks of Sanchez. Danny Welbeck or Olivier Giroud should be able to thrive off the energy of the little dynamos buzzing around them.
So, beating Burnley 3-0 is nothing to write home about; Alexis Sanchez providing the inspiration is, but seeing him and Walcott combining is something really worth getting your pen and paper out for.
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