Yesterday I leaned in to the whole “let’s just get the win and not get carried away with ourselves talking up goal difference, eh?” approach, thinking that I didn’t want to tempt fate and have some pre game arrogance see us lose to a pretty bad Sheffield United game.

How wrong I was.

Apparently you can have both and this Arsenal team delivered yet another free-flowing masterclass against a shell-shocked Sheffield United side who were dead and buried within 15 minutes in Yorkshire. It was a display of utter dominance that completely shattered the Blades; it was like Narsil – the blade Isildur used to kill Sauron in the Lord of the Rings – shattered into a bunch of tiny pieces. Arsenal were merciless in their dispatching of Chris Wilder’s team.

Arteta once again named an unchanged team and whilst I suspect some of it was out of necessity (no Zinchenko back, Gabriel Jesus still returning from injury, as was Thomas Partey), I think Arteta has also realised that what we’ve got right now is an Arsenal engine that is absolutely purring; every part of this collective is currently delivering the required performances for us to keep up with the two juggernauts ahead of us, but we’re doing it and then some.

Within one minute Saka had hit the bar and Martinelli had the ball off the line and for about 90 seconds after that my irrational football fan brain was thinking “don’t let us live to regret that”.

We didn’t. These Arsenal players didn’t. They simply went again and again at Sheffield United. They won the ball back high up the pitch time and time again, they moved the ball quickly and with purpose, they probed and probed and probed again and within five minutes the deadlock was broken. Odegaard is making a delicious habit of arriving in to the box for that trademark goal and my word, aren’t we loving it, eh? The fluidity and rotational movement of this side is phenomenal and Sheffield United were chasing shadows. Then before you knew it we had doubled our lead as Saka absolutely roasted poor Austen Trusty at left back. He isn’t a left back, he didn’t know how to deal with Saka and by the time that second goal went in on 13 minutes I think Saka had roasted him twice already. Then when Gabriel Martinelli bagged the third goal on 15 minutes, Chris Wilder was already making his first sub. It was a tactical move to switch them to five at the back but it would make little difference; this Arsenal team smelled blood and they were ready to go for the jugular. There were Sheffield United fans that had seen enough on 15 minutes and I can’t blame them; their team had fallen apart in spectacular style and the referee hadn’t even blown the halftime whistle. If I was in their shoes I’d be thinking about whether I could get myself home for an early night too.

What I love about this Arsenal side is their relentless commitment to never stop or take their foot off the gas. I remember over the year’s we’d see Arsene’s teams racing to a lead, but then there would be an easing off; I don’t know whether it was trying not to humiliate fellow professionals or whatever, but we’d always play with our food a little bit at times over the years. This Arteta side don’t think like that. They wanted more and they got more, with Kai on the scoresheet on 25 minutes and when that one went in The Management came in to the lounge and said “are they REALLY four up inside half an hour?”. Of course they were. Because this team is playing out of their skin at the moment. I’ve seen some non-Arsenal fans doing the ol’ “yeah but it’s only…” and of course there are limitations in the sides that we’ve played of late, but the way Arsenal have despatched each of them should not be downplayed. This is an Arsenal side who have their game faces on and thewy showed it yet again with another team getting a hiding. Goal difference might not be a ‘thing’ come the end of the season, but if it is we’re all going to be glad for this period in the season, I bet.

There was even time to bag a fifth goal in that first half and I thought Declan Rice’s finish was superb. He’s added so much to his game since joining us and I think he’s already beaten his goals and assists tally from last season. But he’s not the only one, because I think Kai Havertz has also matched his tally from last season at Chelsea too. In about 10 games fewer than last season. Whilst playing a bunch of games in a more deeper left eight role. It feels like he has been unlocked in this Arsenal team and finally I feel like we’re seeing the player that Arteta went to all that trouble to buy. He was imperious last night and I couldn’t be happier for him.

But picking a man of the match is such these days that I could say that about any of our players. Odegaard is in the form of his life, Saliba and Gabriel are like an immoveable object at the back, with our midfield and attack showing fantastic movement, brilliant end product and a craft about them that makes me realise that maybe we are in fact here to stay in this title race.

It’s just as well that we’re hitting this form too, because the remaining 11 games we have are all VERY tricky indeed. An Arsenal side in this kind of form will absolutely fancy its chances against anyone and we have to maintain that momentum next weekend against Brentford and then Porto, because after the international break it feels like things will really hot up.

I don’t really know how many more superlatives I can throw at this team. They are miserly at the back and once again I find myself scratching my head when I try to think about the chances that we gave up – if any – on a cold and wet night in Sheffield. In attack we are devastating and what’s also pleasing to note is how the goals are being spread around. The whole squad is delivering.

And there was even time to give an understandably rusty Thomas Partey minutes, as well as getting minutes in the legs for Vieira and Gabby Jesus too. The team is looking impressive and the bench is also looking strong. Which is just as well because we’re going to need that whole squad for the next three months.

As for now, we can be happy that there’s another big win that has been recorded and that we’re keeping up the pressure on both City and Liverpool. On to next weekend.

If you fancy having a listen to the post match pod with the Same Old Arsenal peeps you can do so here.

Catch you all tomorrow.