December turned into a real success, despite the disappointing setback at Burnley- it's three wins out of three since that and for the team without a frontman, the goals have begun to flow again. The theme of the season continues to be a sort of chaos, with even the expected happenings having a slight sense of surrealism- the United machine rumbles on as if opponents are unaware or unable to take advantage of its rusty wheels; chelsea too look less than well-oiled, and their attempts to clunk back into the relentless rhythm they were threatening a month ago will hardly be aided by the loss of Drogba; and Arsenal, as I've alluded to before, seem to be prospering in the face of glaring flaws and a practically perennial injury crisis. So while in previous seasons results like United 5-0 Wigan and Portsmouth 1-4 Arsenal would not have raised a single eyebrow, now they seem to speak less of the fearsome power of the big boys, more of a collective weakening of the Premiership. That said, this has made the league far more interesting for many teams and Arsenal can be counted among those. My pessimism in the aftermath of the chelsea debacle has proven ill-placed, at least in the short-term, and even if we end up trophyless again at least there is some tangible sense of hope as the season reaches midway.
Whether hope turns to silver or melts into that familiar puddle of disappointment depends hugely, in my view, on the next month. Not just the action on the pitch, but dealings off it. Last season, the January signing of Arshavin proved pivotal in the race for fourth. This year, why couldn't something similar result in a greater chance of the ultimate prize? Of course, the fact remains that this time around, the reinforcements called for are multiple- surely some cover at centre-half- although with Senderos having been injured, rather than frozen out as I'd assumed, maybe this is not a priority for Wenger- as well as solutions for the centre-forward conundrum and the temporary loss of Alex Song. It would be a very optimistic fan that would expect three signings in January, and that's not to speak of our lack of a convincing goalkeeper.
Myles Palmer on arsenalnewsreview increasingly portrays Wenger as a man drunk on power with a "My Way or the Highway" attitude to the running of HIS club. But hopefully the successes with Arshavin and, more recently, Vermaelen have persuaded the Frenchman as to the benefit of action in the transfer market. We'll soon see.