Arsenal have, throughout the 2015/16 campaign, found themselves taking one step forward, only to then take one step back.
They found themselves slipping into reverse again in midweek, with a shock 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday dumping them out of the Capital One Cup.
The outlook is, however, generally bright at Emirates Stadium, with a recent victory over Bayern Munich reigniting their Champions League push and steady progress made in the Premier League to sit joint-top of the standings alongside Manchester City.
Reclaiming that crown will be considered a top priority for Arsene Wenger, with Arsenal having already gone 11 years without tasting domestic dominance.
There is also the small matter of a third successive FA Cup triumph to aim at, with elimination from one knockout competition switching focus to another.
By the time that quest starts, the transfer window will have swung back open for the January sales.
A lack of summer business, with Wenger keeping a close eye on the purse strings once again, suggests that the Emirates faithful should not get overly excited about potential activity in north London.
Were Arsenal to still be pushing hard for title glory, though, the cheque book could be dusted off, with a man who spent three years with the club between 1984 and 1987 of the opinion that reinforcements at the heart of the back four may be enough for the Gunners to sustain a challenge for major honours.
Viv Anderson, who was speaking at GameChangers Football as part of his role as ambassador for the Nottingham City of Football project, told HITC Sport during a phone interview: “They are joint-top of the league right now, so you can’t be in a better position than that. I’ve always been a bit sceptical, though, when it comes to April/May and they seem to fall off. They have got some decent players, and a few injuries as well – you have got (Jack) Wilshere to come back, Danny Welbeck to come back, so you have got a few to come into the frame. I just think defensively they struggle a little bit. If they could buy a defender in the transfer window, that may strengthen them a little bit and then, yes, I think they might have a good push.”
Anderson added on the lack of movement over the summer, with only Petr Cech added to the ranks: “I always thought they should have bought a centre-half in the transfer window in the summer. They bought Cech, which I thought was a good signing anyway, but I thought another centre-back would have helped everybody at the club at the time, because they have enough cover in the full-back areas – you have got (Kieran) Gibbs who is playing for England but can’t play for his club. In that respect, and they have got a lot of players in midfield, they aren’t doing too bad.”
Wenger will be aware of the calls to add, which are likely to intensify over the coming weeks, as he has regularly come in for criticism as a result of his prudent approach to squad reinforcement.
He has, however, got Arsenal back on the trophy trail, following a nine-year drought, and a fourth Premier League crown of his glittering reign may well be enough to convince him that the time is right to step aside and let someone else move the club forward.
Anderson said: “That’s a difficult question to answer and probably the only person who can answer that is Arsene Wenger. He’s had so many years in the job, I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.
“He’s been getting stick over the last few years. I know they didn’t win anything for a long while and I don’t think most football clubs would have tolerated not winning anything for nine years, but they stuck with him and they may reap the rewards come May.”
Wenger has hinted of late that he will stick around until at least 2017, when his contract expires, but walking away on the back of a title party would be some way for a man who has done so much for Arsenal and English football to sign off.
It may be that he never gets to savour such highs again, but the foundations have been put down this season and anything is possible if the Gunners can find a way of establishing consistency and maintaining forward momentum.
Viv Anderson is an ambassador for the Nottingham City of Football project and was taking part in GameChangers Football with GameCity. For more information and to find your football go to http://www.city-of-football.uk