I think everyone would agree that, whilst our results have so far been good, our performances have been, until Stoke, little more than acceptable. I hear all kinds of convoluted theories about this: opponents have sussed us out, players are tired, etc and so on. Personally, I think it's very straight forward, we lost some confidence. When we destroyed Stoke last season we all believed we were on course for a title. We had to win ALL of our remaining games, but they were all winnable and we were playing some wonderful football. However, we then played WBA at home, a game we should have won and played well enough to win, but there are no easy games in the Premier League and we were sucker punched by a team who were only too happy to get everyone behind the ball and take a draw. Once we failed to win against Albion, we lost focus. Yes, we still had second place to compete for, which should've been a big enough carrot to chase especially against those mugs down the road, but when you feel so close to greatness only to have it snatched away so cruelly, it effects you mentally, especially with such a young side. That mental struggle was so evident against Southampton and, when you know it has happened, you try and over compensate as we did v Chelsea and the team's confidence is destroyed. I have always believed that a team which finishes a season strong will start the following season strong and, likewise, a team which finishes poorly will start the next season poorly. So often you see that momentum, that confidence, or lack of it carried forward. It was exactly what happened in 2007-08, when after Ramos had won the cup we finished the season all over the place and, consequently, Ramos begun the next season in complete shambles (2pts from 8 games!). In 2008-09, when after those early season woes and Redknapp's arrival, we romped our last few games and finished the season very strong, I remember being so excited and, in 2009-10, we started on fire and ultimately qualified for the Champions League! Players feel the disappointment of a poor finish, they feel the excitement of a great finish, and they dwell on it all summer just as us fans do and it very often manifests in those first few games. Many of our stars not only suffered that poor finish to last season, but also suffered a poor Euros (I wonder also how much our poor season's end was actually, in part at least, a reason behind those Euro performances of the likes of Kane and Alli, although Dier, Walker and Rose all had a decent tournament, Iceland aside!) After our demise toward the end of last season, I was always wary that we may suffer a slow start this term and so it has proven. As such, I am pretty hopeful that our 4 nil decimation of Stoke (again) was evidence of the team blowing off those cobwebs of last season and we can now progress as we should. I don't see it so much on a game by game basis - we start slow, finish strong - but more a longer term trajectory whereby our performances have progressively dipped since our inability to beat WBA at home and now we've come through it with a 4 nil demolition of Stoke and hopefully our performances will see an upturn. I do see it as simple as that.