The 2-1 defeat of Manchester City on Monday night was the perfect start to a Christmas period which could see Arsenal really seize the initiative in the Premier League title race.
Two points adrift of Leicester City and now four points clear of Manchester City, Arsenal have a fairly friendly run of games coming thick and fast before the third round of the FA Cup.
Travelling to Southampton on Boxing Day, Arsenal will fancy their chances of reversing their recent poor record on the south coast. Ronald Koeman’s side haven’t won in five, and lost two of their last three home games – there won’t be a better chance to beat them.
That game is followed by home fixtures against Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Seven points would leave Arsenal on 43 from the first 20 games, but nine points is a realistic aim too.
Meanwhile, league leaders Leicester City face Liverpool and Manchester City before playing Bournemouth in their first game of 2016. Either side of the game between the sides in first and third, Manchester City play Sunderland at home and Watford away.
One of Leicester City and Manchester City must drop points over the next 10 days, and both – on paper – have one more very tricky game. Taking care of our own games is the key and, if Arsenal do so, they may just head into 2016 with the wind in their sails.
No pressure, then.