Arsenal fans will be licking their wounds for quite some time, after they saw their side suffer what all teams may now fear is the inevitable Etihad demolition job.
But there is one good thing to come from Manchester City’s 6-3 victory over a Gunners side anxiously looking over their shoulders at the top of the Premier League.
Now, surely, Arsene Wenger has to buy in January.
For a time it appeared he would not have to. His carefully constructed side looked every inch champions-elect. But in losing first to Manchester United and now to their far more impressive neighbours, one thing is abundantly clear – Arsenal are not quite good enough.
Had they somehow managed to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool last summer, they would be. But they must now forget about that ill-fated pursuit and instead focus on realistic targets, in the hope that Wenger can pull a rabbit or two out of his beret and sign the men who can push Arsenal over the finishing-line.
Quite simply, this is the best chance Arsenal are going to have to win the title for quite some time. United are going to regroup and revamp, City will keep on spending, and Jose Mourinho will surely soon realise that he is a world-class striker away from the complete package.
So while Arsenal’s players and fans alike will be drowning their sorrows this evening and for a few days to come, their boss should be getting his shopping list together.
He should not spend for the sake of spending, but if he can get the players needed to win what is left of the big occasions, he could finally get his hands on a trophy again. And whatever you think of Wenger or of Arsenal, his ethos, and the way they have evolved this season, suggests they deserve it.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge