When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain collapsed in a heap clasping his knee on the opening day of the season fans feared the worst.
At one point it even looked like his season could be over - as the dreaded diagnosis of a cruciate ligament injury followed his clash with Antonio Luna.
But ‘Chambo’s’ recovery from injury was swift - and the England international returned to action, coincidentally against Villa on the 13th January this year.
So February represented his first full month of the season - and what a month it has been.
The midfielder started the month off with a game winning performance against Crystal Palace - bagging both goals in a 2-0 victory at The Emirates.
Since then it has been a tough month for The Gunners.
Defeats against Liverpool, Stoke City and Bayern Munich have been disappointing - while possibly the worst game in Premier League history against Manchester United on the 12th will not live long in the memory of any football purist.
But their only other win came in a 2-1 FA Cup triumph over Liverpool - and who scored in that game? Oxlade-Chamberlain that’s who.
His direct play bypasses the occasional overplay in the midfield by the likes of Mesut Ozil and co - and was certainly an effective plan B throughout the torrid February month.
And now his performances, whether central or on the wing, have seen him earn the accolade as Arsenal’s player of the month for February - and rightly so.
He has beaten Laurent Koscielny and Tomas Rosicky to the award. In a dark month for the club he has been one shining light - and seeing someone return from such a serious injury in this type of form is nothing short of stunning.
That form has earned him a place in the England game for tomorrows friendly against Denmark - and what looked like shattered World Cup dreams in August now look like an assured seat on the plane to Brazil.
At this rate - he might even start.
image: © wonker