Arsenal were fortunate to survive a second-half onslaught against Napoli to progress to the Champions League last 16. They cannot afford a repeat against Man City...
Jose Mourinho might be unhappy with the low number of goals from his strikers, but Nick Miller argues that he doesn't have to worry, because the goals are still coming...
It's lovely seeing Arsenal fans happy at the moment. I know relationship analogies are tedious, but it genuinely is like they're in the first flush of new love. Actually, perhaps it would be more accurate to say the start of a second marriage - a couple who grew apart, then got back together years later with renewed spark. Arsene knows again, and thanks to this sexy new piece of German lingerie, everyone is a little bit giddy.
Equally, those Everton fans who had grown tired of David Moyes' effective but often cautious and stodgy ways have been reinvigorated by the entrance of the younger, intelligent, tan-loafered Roberto Martinez, sprucing things up with his lovely style and passing and whatnot. If a change is as good as a rest, then Toffees are emerging from a long soak in a relaxing bath with Zero 7 (assuming they haven't bought any records since 2002) on the stereo.
And on a smaller scale, it's all coming up Millhouse for Hull at the moment. Their excellent start to the season has been a fairly strong 'f**k you' to the critics (yes, this website included) who predicted a season of unending pain, misery, failure and Steve Bruce blaming it all on someone else - anyone else. That fellow perceived whipping boys Crystal Palace are duly receiving said whipping presumably makes things all the sweeter.
However, is all this hope healthy? Are we a generation of football fans with short memories when it comes to positive things, as well as negative? The 'What have you done for me lately?' culture bemoaned by many when a previously perfectly decent manager is sacked after a bad run of form, works the other way around as well. Short-termism is always criticised when people like Nigel Clough are dismissed ten games into a season, but what about positive short-termism? Sure, there is a difference because in one scenario a few people get giddy, while in the other someone loses their job, but it can also be damaging.
Knee-jerking, an action usually associated with the negative, can work the other way, too. It's very easy and indeed understandable to get carried away after a good run of form, but it's interesting that the number of e-mails received by Football365 in the past couple of weeks along the lines of 'You spent the summer having a pop at Arsene - now look' has increased. It's interesting firstly because this website wasn't exactly the only source questioning a transfer window that looked a complete shambles until the last day, and secondly it suggests the idea that after six games, the doubters have unquestionably been proved wrong. Matthew Stanger wrote here that Arsenal look very good at the moment, which is clearly true - at the moment. But who knows what horrors lie around the corner? History should teach Arsenal fans - all football fans, really - to be cautious rather than excessively and prematurely optimistic.
The same applies to Everton, who look lovely, are profiting from Chelsea's apparent error in evaluating which of their strikers is any good and are the only unbeaten team in the division. Yet there still remains Martinez's defensive organisation at Wigan. I won't bore you with the stats you've probably heard already, but the short version is that Wigan's defence was terrible and basically the reason they eventually went down. Just because Everton are doing okay now, it doesn't mean Martinez has suddenly turned into George Graham or Arrigo Sacchi.
Fans have now been conditioned to think in the short term. The repetition that Arsenal are top of the Premier League, as if that simple statement means anything more than the square root of sod all after six games, is a case in point. This short-termism frequently manifests itself in the boos at half-time and the complaints and 'You don't know what you're doing', but when things are going well, it can also lead to false expectations. There will presumably be a few Gooners out there who are now convinced this is the real Arsenal, that everything is cool again and who ignore their obvious flaws. Maybe they won't, but the likelihood is that these flaws will emerge at some point in the coming months, and the mood swings of fans will once again rival that of the crabbiest over-tired toddler.
Perhaps this is based on a straw man built from the loudest and smuggest that filter through to our collective consciousness, and nobody really is taking leave of perspective and their senses...but boy, those loud and smug fans are bloody loud and bloody smug. Just don't get carried away - in the long run, a positive knee-jerk could be as bad as a negative one.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
"The Danger Of The Positive Knee-Jerk"...as opposed to negative knee-jerks which appear perfectly acceptable, risk-free and above board in the eyes of F365 given your current obsessive flirtations with a certain Mr Moyes...- jd.quench