Wenger claimed the positive which came out of our failed title quest last year was that the players would learn from it. He said they were young players who had never been put into the heat of a title run-in before and that having experienced it once, if and when the chance came again they would know how to win the League.
So, it's time to see whether Arsene was right: were his claims pure conjecture or have Arsenal actually learnt. And we will see in the run-in this season.
It's not a title run-in but in terms of the long-term future of the club, this is probably more important. Whether you win the league or not is a question of prestige. With debts like ours, qualifying for the Champions League is a necessity.
In theory we should be able to outlast Villa over a 38 game season. We have a better team and a better squad. Without Laursen they're definitely faltering. But if matches were played in theory we wouldn't be in the position we are now.
Frankly, I think it's going to come down to us getting results against United and Chelsea in two of our last 3 League games.
But that should be to cement the Champions League place. The reality is that it is more likely to be neck-and-neck till the final day of the season.
Ultimately, Wenger has claimed the boys have learnt from 2008; and he has claimed that this team will be hugely improved with the return of Cesc, Theo et al.
It's time to prove it. And The Hawthorns is a nice place to start a winning run.
Keep the faith,