Well here’s a funny thing.
Who remembers how the Arsenal world was feeling just before Christmas?
While Santa was loading his sleigh with goodies and little children everywhere were excitedly hanging up their stockings, Gooners were weeping into their mince pies.
An appalling run of results and form had seen us plummet faster than Harry Kane when he gets in the opponents’ penalty area.
The word “relegation” was being bandied about and there was a sense of foreboding in the air. And it wasn’t just Santa Claus who was contemplating a sack. Speculation was rife that Mikel Arteta would soon be looking for employment elsewhere.
Now, just a month later, everything looks different and no fact sums that up more acutely than this one: right now we are just four points behind Liverpool, the reigning Premier League champions and last year’s all-conquering heroes.
Admittedly we are four point behind having played one game more, so we could be seven points in their wake, but I make the point to show what a strange game football is and, in particular, how unpredictable this season is in the EPL.
This week’s results are another case in point: table-topping Manchester United lose at home to bottom placed Sheffield United; highly fancied Aston Villa vanquished by Burnely; top four challengers including Leicester, Everton and Chelsea all dropping points.
Teams are going on great runs for five or six games then, for inscrutable reasons, suddenly seeing their form go down the toilet (Chelsea are a perfect example).
This augurs both well and ominously for Arsenal. We had our terrible run. Right now we’re on an excellent run, but is it reasonable to expect us to keep it up?
There will probably be bumps in the road and for we fans it will be important to maintain perspective. We’ll need to remember the old Rudyard Kipling line about treating triumph and failure as equal impostors.
But the volatility of the Premier League this season also offers a real chance of redemption for us. If we can maintain a degree of consistency (and we have the players to do so) then we have a chance of gradually creeping up the table while others stutter.
Normally at this stage of the season and with this many points we would already be ruling out a top four finish for the boys in red and white, but this year of all years… I’m not so sure.
Keep the faith Gooners.