Arsène Wenger has rarely glowed so radiantly after victory in Arsenal's success-starved era. He was entitled to after his side announced themselves as genuine Premier League title contenders with the 4-1 defeat of Norwich to return to the summit with a two-point cushion. For the first time in nearly a decade, Arsenal look serious.
Wenger began his programme notes stressing how teams "start after a break tells you a lot about the hunger", and Arsenal were utterly ravenous against the Canaries. Their first fixture in 13 days, it is testament to their appetite they played their best football after Jonny Howson offered Norwich a flicker of hope to reduce the arrears on 70 minutes.
This game will be less remembered for Arsenal's comprehensive statement and more for Jack Wilshere's magnificent opener, though. Six first touches in three seconds culminated in one of the great team goals in Arsenal's history, let alone Wenger's era.
"Certainly one of the best," he acknowledged of the first of four strikes. "It was the one I enjoyed the most because it was a team goal and a combination of how our team play. It was a mixture of technical quality, speed, thinking, reaction and calmness. It was a great goal.
"We've scored some good goals already this season and today the goals were great. The first was exceptional."
Wenger declined to compare Wilshere's goal with one from the Arsenal archives. "I can't remember," he remarked innocently. It is unlikely an Arsenal almanac like Wenger "can't remember" a goal of similar stature but he is determined to keep the emphasis on the present, rather than the past.
The brilliance of the opener made it inevitable the Invincibles would be prematurely mentioned. Wilshere-Özil-Cazorla have plenty of work to do before they can be hailed as the triumvirate of successors to Bergkamp-Henry-Pires, but Arsenal are hitting their stride.
Defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day has galvanised a club who would take any major trophy to alleviate the gloom which has hovered over the Emirates Stadium. Whereas domestic cups were realistic targets in recent years, now the Premier League has taken precedence.
"It's a bit early, now," Wenger wryly replied to the Invincibles comparison. "It's not even Christmas yet! Honestly, we have a good attitude, are hungry, there is a good solidarity level that we get from the stand. There's belief."
"Solidarity" is indispensable. Wenger seemed to suggest Arsenal fans' negativity has inhibited the team in recent years, which makes chants of "We are top of the league" in mid-October a refreshing antidote to the Aaron Ramsey-bashing on the terraces in 2012.
Almost a year to the day of Arsenal's win against Norwich, they were beaten by the Canaries to trigger a run of two wins in seven for Wenger's team, dashing any tenuous aspirations of a title tilt as the focus shifted onto the cups. Three-hundred-and-sixty-three days on, their dominance in the game's denouement must have heartened Wenger. Howson's goal yesteryear might have led to an equaliser but mentally, Arsenal are a more resilient side and while Wenger's parsimoniousness might yet be their undoing, his seasoned players seem to have benefitted from years of underachieving.
"We won 4-1 but I think Norwich played well," Wenger opined. "It was strange because they made it difficult for us. We had a difficult period from minute 30 to 60 where we struggled a little bit to keep our game going."
Ramsey's omission from the starting line-up was due to a hectic schedule. Norwich was the first of seven games in 23 days and Wenger admitted "it was a chance to give him [Ramsey] a little breather".
Mathieu Flamini withdrew for the Welshman due to concussion after a thumping clash of heads with Alexander Tettey, and is a doubt for Tuesday's Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund. But that speck of gloom could not diminish Wenger's glow.