Cor blimey it’s cold in London right now. I’m sure many of you are from places that would consider the weather we’ve got in the UK ‘mild’, but my body isn’t designed for minus temperatures and when I have to wear five layers for my morning run, that’s really hitting home for me, that’s for sure.

I wonder if Mikel and the Arsenal team were tempted to stay out in Dubai for an extra couple of nights? I think they are due to stay until today I think I read somewhere, but if they’re coming back from the Middle East at some stage this afternoon, boy are they in for a rude awakening.

As for us, we’ve all pinned our hopes on the warm weather affording a reset, the players feeling refreshed and that Palace won’t know what hits them this lunchtime coming on Saturday. Whether that actually happens is another story. And as I was on my run this morning, that mindset of a fan – me in particular – was something I was thinking about. After we played Brighton and performed so well to stay top of the Premier League, I thought to myself about how we were in such good shape. We then went to Anfield and the mood of finally actually being able to win there was buoyant. Of course we didn’t in the end, but there was enough there in that performance to suggest that this team were in decent shape.

We all knew that we had flaws; we weren’t quite clicking in the final third, we probably should have scored more than we did, but when you’re top of the league, have the best defence and there still feels like there’s more to come, you can park some of the minor concerns that might be permeating in the back of your mind. After that Liverpool game I remember being around my parents house on Christmas Eve, thinking about The Arsenal and thinking “we’re in pretty good shape. Two winds in our next two games and we’re looking good for a title assault”.

And this is what I’m talking about with the ‘mindset’ thing, because in my head I hadn’t really factored in the two performances we were going to get over Christmas. I’d almost already plotted out the six points; we would beat West Ham comfortably because Moyes doesn’t have a great record against us and we would pick up a win at Fulham because they weren’t in good form and we normally play quite well at The Cottage. By Christmas Day I was positively jubilant about The Arsenal because we were in control in the title race.

Just one week later and it would all feel very different. We all know what happened and then what happened a week later when we played Liverpool and suddenly having gone from being a guy who is plotting out the wins, I find myself heading in to this coming weekend thinking “hey, Palace are no mugs, they have had a week off to prepare for us too, they have Eze who is a talent, plus Rob Holding will probably come back on as a sub and Mavropanos us in the second half”.

Back-to-back defeats impacts a simple fan like myself, you see, because had we won our last three games, then I’d be pondering about how many goals we will win by this weekend. Winning breeds arrogance and conversely, defeats breed fear. Mikel Arteta’s job this last week is to show those players the footage of the last three games and tell them “look at this. You are the better team. Just go out there and don’t overthink in front of goal”. We do that and we should be fine. But until we see the evidence of that when the game kicks off against Palace on Saturday lunchtime, we aren’t really going to know what Arsenal will show up. We should do, but overthinking of the average football fan is our prerogative. What we should be doing is thinking “this team has won 12 of 20 games. They tend to win a LOT more than they lose”, but when you’re on a run like we’ve been on, it doesn’t feel like that. The irrational ‘chimp’ side of the brain kicks in and you think that any opponent you are facing could be having their ‘one big day out’ against you in the upcoming match. Just look at Fulham – they’ve lost five out of there last six I think. Their one win and their one ‘big day out’ was of course against us. Just had to be, didn’t it?

So here I sit, tapping away at my laptop with another four days at least until I see whether The Arsenal will be the side we think they are this season, or whether they are going to suffer from that psychological barrier that seemed to envelope them post Christmas Day, which has led us to score one slightly fortuitous goal rebounding off Saka from a Bernd Leno parry.

Let’s just hope that it’s all going to change from this weekend. The tide needs to turn and the goals need to come. The season depends on it.

Catch you all tomorrow.