Earlier this year, Gabriel Martinelli made a big claim about the future of this Arsenal side, so with the team sitting on top of the Premier League table, having won 11 of their 12 games in all competitions, was he right?

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Gabriel Martinelli has been one of the Premier League’s standout stars this season with everyone outside of the club finally noticing him properly.

Only Gabriel and Granit Xhaka have played more minutes for Arsenal this season than Martinelli and, with four goals, only Gabriel Jesus has scored more.

Speaking back in March, Martinelli hailed this Arsenal team as one capable of becoming ‘one of the best in the world’.

It seemed slightly hyperbolic at the time but I would be lying if I said I don’t find myself now wondering the same thing.

“We are so young,” Martinelli said. “The oldest player in the game against City was Laca, but a lot of players are 22, 23, 24.

“We have time to improve and we are going to do that. One hundred percent — we will be one of the best teams in the world.”

A run of success is a dangerous thing for fans like those of Arsenal. For me, it’s a sustained run of games without being complete idiots.

These days, I’m constantly battling myself. The Martinelli part is eagerly pulling at a leash, howling to be set free.

It’s controlled, however, by the part of me so deeply scarred by Arsenal over the past 15 years, it’s scared to let go and believe.

Arsenal players (back row L-R) Arsenal's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, Arsenal's German defender Shkodran Mustafi, Arsenal's Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Arsenal's French defender Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech and Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (front row L-R) Arsenal's French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, Arsenal's English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal's French striker Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal's German-born Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac and Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil pose for a pre-game photograph before the UEFA Europa League semi final, first leg, football match between Arsenal and Valencia at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 2, 2019.(Photo credit GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal players pose for a pre-game photograph before the UEFA Europa League semi final, first leg, football match between Arsenal and Valencia at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 2, 2019.(Photo credit GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

But it really does feel different this time, doesn’t it?

Doesn’t it?

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.