Momentum is such an important factor in football. And one that can not be quantified.
Many pundits have written (a bit too joyfully) that the break for the World Cup was bad for Arsenal. That it stopped out momentum, our march to the top of the league on Christmas Day.
To put that discussion to bed, we need to come back from the break with a bang with a win against West Ham.
A win today will see us open an 8 point gap on Manchester City – who do not play until Wednesday.
That would immediately put pressure on City, who travel away to Leeds United. They will know they can not afford to slip up if Arsenal keep winning.
We have looked sharp in mid-pre-season. Beating Lyon and AC Milan.
The defeat to Juventus was a good work out. The Italian side stuck 8 behind the ball and made themselves hard to break down. Despite losing due to two OGs, there were plenty of positives to take.
The players not at the World Cup certainly did not treat the trip to Dubai as a jolly-up. There were none of the shirtless shenanigans that we have seen previously.
We prepared for the games professionally, as if we were getting ready for the start of the season. And that is how it had to be.
City took a different route.
With almost three quarters of their squad out in Qatar, they opted not to have a whole host of friendlies. Instead playing just once against City owned, Spanish League Two side Girona. That is the equivalent of us playing Barnet.
They have had a competitive game against Liverpool in the League Cup to sharpen up. XXXX LIVERPOOL RESULT & PERFORMANCE XXXX
Arsenal’s final friendly saw the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka play. All looked good, sharp and ready to go.
We have also had a behind closed doors training match against Luton Town (finished 0-0) that saw Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli return.
You can never read anything into these sort of games. They are not friendlies. They are training games. No different to playing first XI v reserves.
Arsenal need to start fast. After West Ham we travel to Brighton. Then we have a tricky run of games of Newcastle (H), Spurs (A), Man U (H) & Everton (A).
If we are still top after that Everton game then we the title charge will be on.
When the season starts, you want to get that first win under your belt. And it feels the same today.
Get the first 3 points on the board. The first goals. Hopefully the first clean sheet. And the detractors will be silenced.