The Premier League’s statement on Monday morning detailing the charges it had laid out against Manchester City rocked English football to its very foundations.
It’s not an exaggeration to say the outcome of its investigation into the champions has the potential to be one of the most defining moments in the game’s long history on these shores.
Manchester City - the most successful club in the country over the past 10 years - stands accused of cheating the system.
They have been hit by a staggering 101 charges of breaching financial rules between 2009 and 2018 and then spending the next four years obstructing the subsequent investigation that followed
It’s a charge list on an unprecedented scale and should City be found guilty of all, or even some of the alleged offences, then there is the potential for the punishment to be as severe as it gets.
Nothing is off the table. Transfer bans, unlimited fines, even points deductions or expulsion from the league.
It must be pointed out that City vehemently deny any wrongdoing and the statement they swiftly put out in response points to a ‘comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence’ to substantiate their claims.
The champions - who have lifted the Premier League title six times since 2012 - also said that they "look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all."
Despite their protests of innocence, however, the charges brought by the Premier League have led to heated debate among fans of rival clubs.
There are plenty at United and Liverpool calling for City’s titles to be taken off them, while there have been the inevitable jokes from Arsenal fans demanding that Pep Guardiola’s side are hit with an immediate points deduction.
Of course, that outcome feels impossible, given how long the impending legal process promises to be.
But hypothetically speaking, if City were docked points and Arsenal were left with a clear run to the title, would that really be something they want?
I don’t think so.
Mikel Arteta is a fierce competitor and when you watch his team play it’s clear that he has instilled that mentality into all of his young players.
They thrive on competition and ripping up the rule book.
People have expected Arsenal to fall away all season, yet week after week they have shown that they have the capability to stay the distance.
Should they go on and get themselves over the line now from the position they have put themselves it will go down as one of the great achievements in Premier League history.
No-one gave them a chance of getting close to the title this season, yet here they are - five points clear at the top of the table in February.
They have gone toe to toe with the best the Premier League has to offer and so far they have passed almost every obstacle that has come their way.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham (twice) and Manchester United have all been brushed aside by a young side that has revitalised the Emirates.
A stadium which was once seen as a hindrance given the stale and sometimes negative atmosphere is now a cauldron of noise and encouragement.
Arsenal want to win this title and they believe they can win this title. They wouldn’t, however, want to be handed it.
Yes, they would still get the trophy and the 2022/23 season would forever be etched onto the club’s honours board.
But that long-awaited 14th league championship - the first since 2004 - would feel somewhat tainted. It would always come with an asterisk alongside it, especially in the view of rival fans.
There would still be a parade through the streets of north London at the end of May, but it just wouldn’t quite feel the same.
All the hard work over the past few years, all the big decisions that Arteta and Edu have taken to rebuild the squad, have been done with the view of clawing back that gap that has existed between Arsenal and the likes of City.
Now they will want to see that process through on the pitch, not in a courtroom.
If City are guilty of what has been alleged then the book should be thrown at them and they will deserve everything that comes their way.
But this vibrant and impressive young Arsenal team doesn't deserve to be tarnished by someone else’s wrongdoing.
They deserve far more than that and hopefully they can go on and prove it in the best way possible between now and May 28.