Winning by the odd goal at Southampton shouldn’t feel seminal, but in the context of the season, it does.
The Saints were in a moment, the sweet spot, the holy grail. That magical place where it feels like you can win without exertion.
Two crosses, two expert finishes – football has never been easier.
Meanwhile, Wolves looked like they were trying to crack the Engima code at the other end with intricate flicks and short corners producing little in the way of goalmouth action.
Raul looks knackered, Adama’s crowded out, nothing to call on from the bench.
Call it a day?
With a half time orange and a quick sit down, those same players promptly dusted themselves down and ripped Southampton apart.
Suddenly the ball is sticking with Jimenez, suddenly Traore is sprinting free and suddenly there are bodies in the box.
Neto took his time and finished with aplomb.
The 19-year-old then slides in Jonny for the most obvious penalty you’ll ever see not given be a referee. Thankfully today, VAR was an ally.
Maybe Raul will be feeling the nerves? Maybe not. Finished with customary aplomb from the best penalty taker the club must have ever had.
Then the finale, the coup de grâce, with Traore and Jimenez zip-zapping it around before the latter reminded us why he’s indispensable.
From despair to ecstasy inside 23 minutes. Never write these lads off.
Jimenez, in particular, deserves special recognition after a below-par run of form, while Traore continues to show a maturity to his game that simply didn’t exist last season.
Having the wherewithal to run onto that through pass, realise the shot wasn’t on and then thread the lay-off to Jimenez for the winner was incredible.
And what of Neto?
19 years old and already a fully formed Premier League star. He can improve considerably of course, but his intensity, his physicality and his ability to continually impact a game of football at this level is scarcely believable.
As is this depleted squad of course. You could argue with credibility they’re still operating without their best defender and their best attacker and nothing in reserve yet still producing the goods. Remarkable.
This team. These players. This coach.
Wherever it ends up, don’t be sad when it’s over – just be glad it happened.