AARON Ramsey's late winner for Arsenal against Marseille in France last night put Arsène Wenger's team on course for qualification for the knockout round of the Champions League and was more evidence, the manager said, that his team are heading in the right direction.
Arsenal are a point clear of Marseille in Group F, who they beat with a late and largely undeserved winner, but that did not trouble Wenger who said that his team had "been unlucky in this competition in the past".
Wenger paid tribute to Ramsey, who scored the winner in injury-time.
"It was a great finish," he said. "When you see Aaron in front of goal you know you have a good chance to score.
"He is becoming a real goalscorer. He has been injured for a year and I am conscious of how much (the currently injured Jack) Wilshere played last year. I try to be a bit more cautious when I can about playing him."
Wenger added: "We left it very late. We had a difficult start with Marseille pressing us well and we didn't find our fluency. We had experience in midfield, we didn't make stupid mistakes and we took over in the second half when Marseille weren't dangerous.
"They defended well but in the last 15 minutes we created chances and were rewarded because we kept going and got a very important victory.
"We have made a little step forward but we have to be humble. We are a team who has to continue to grow. This result will help our confidence. If you look back at the last five or six games, you will see only one defeat. We are slowly getting there."
The one worry for Wenger was another injury, to defender Carl Jenkinson, who was already understudying Bacary Sagna.
"He overstretched his knee," said Wenger. "We have to check that tomorrow.
"Was it lucky? Three substitutes combined for the goal, that makes me lucky, but we haven't always been lucky in this competition.
"We lost a goal late in Dortmund (in this season's first group game) and we lost the (2006) Champions League final in the final minutes with 10 men."
This was, admitted Wenger, "a game which was blocked tactically". He added: "I can understand the fans might be disappointed by the game, but this is the way football happens."
Any neutrals may indeed have been thoroughly bored by this match, enough to have turned over, if they had the option, to watch Chelsea's goal-laden saunter past Genk.
If they did so they would, however, have missed the one moment of quality in this stadium where, 13 summers ago, Paul Scholes announced himself in a World Cup for England.
This time it was Ramsey who provided a touch of class. His last-gasp goal was the first Marseille had conceded at home in nine hours of the elite competition, a surprising fact given the poverty of their own performance.
Indeed, both teams had looked what they are, struggling domestically for form and confidence.
Robin van Persie had a header cleared off the line in the first half, and drew a good save from Steve Mandanda in the last minute of normal time, but otherwise Arsenal threatened no more than their hosts -- who barely troubled Wojciech Szczesny.
The result means Arsenal remain unbeaten in nine away European matches on French soil.
That statistic ignores, however, defeats to Spanish opposition in the finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup, and the Champions League, respectively Real Zaragoza in 1995 and Barcelona in 2006.
Arsenal, at present, show no sign of reaching another final, but at this stage results are what matters, in particular qualifying top of the group, and they have made excellent progress on that front.