Before the season began, our main target was a simple one. Top 4.
Most of us would not have dreamed the start we have had – 14 games in, top of the league and guaranteed to be top at Christmas.
What is now key is that brilliant start does not artificially inflate our expectations. We do not move the goal posts on what would have been deemed a successful season prior to the campaign kicking off.
We are in the title race, but I do not expect us to win it. Manchester City are still the clear favourites.
My concern is that people will begin dreaming of that title, expecting us to win the league. And then if we fall away to 2nd or even 3rd, they will deem 2022/23 a failure and heap pressure on Mikel Arteta.
What Arteta, the players, coaching staff, and other senior management have done over the last 12 months has been exceptional.
We have got rid of those problematic players and are building a young, hungry team that is capable of challenging. But we were not expected to challenge this season.
This side is at the beginning of a cycle (whereas the Liverpool side is coming to the end). This is year one of the next 5 years.
If we keep the current crop together, they continue to work hard and improve, and we invest further in the squad, we will continue to challenge for – and win – trophies.
It is just important that we as fans temper our expectations so that we do not become overly criticial of our side currently overachieving.
14 games in and you would have to say top 4 is all but secured. Our main target of the season, remember.
We are already 8 points ahead of Tottenham – with a game in hand.
Frustrating that gap could have been even wider had Bournemouth and Leeds United not bottled it! We could have been 14 clear of that lot.
We are 11 clear of Man U, who also got a luck win last weekend with a last gasp winner against Fulham.
It is not impossible that they will not catch us, but you would be very surprised if they would close that gap enough considering the form they have been in.
Liverpool and Chelsea are 15 and 16 points behind us respectively.
In simple terms, for them to catch us, they we would need to win 5 more games than Arsenal in the last 24 games. They have both only won 6 games in the first 14.
It is too early to celebrate top 4, and Newcastle’s good start to the season has made the race even more competitive.
We just need to keep concentrating on ourselves. One game at a time. Beat the team in front of us.
Keep doing that and 4th will then be guaranteed. And come the last 10 games, if we are still in the title race, I might start believing.