Al Jazira's first league championship made possible a simple leap of logic: that the big club in the big stadium, with nearly the whole of the side returning and the onus of never having won a title removed, could be primed to show some dynastic tendencies.
The 2010/11 championship certainly was authoritative; Jazira clinched in the 19th week of a 22-round season and, even with the league title secured, came within five days of the Pro League's first unbeaten season.
They also had won their first President's Cup trophy, and it seemed likely that a period of dominance was at hand: Jazira the leaders of a New Order, with themselves on an elevated level and everyone else somewhere below.
It may still work that way. But seven games into the current season, Jazira find themselves looking up at Al Ain in the Pro League table, and if they should lose to their Abu Dhabi rivals in the match tonight at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, they would be four points back, a not-inconsiderable distance in such a short season.
Defeat may, in fact, trigger an altogether different assessment: that Jazira's championship this past spring did not launch a dynasty so much as mark the end of a four-season period of brilliance during which they happened to win the league only once.
Jazira were runners-up the previous three league seasons, falling short by three points to Al Shabab, one point to Al Ahli and seven to Al Wahda in the championship races.
They were particularly powerful during the three seasons under the direction of Abel Braga, the Brazilian coach, losing only four games from 66 league matches, winning 47 and drawing 14. When Braga left the club in June at the conclusion of his three-season contract, Jazira had lost at home only once in three years, to Al Ahli in 2009.
Closer examination of the Jazira side shows age creeping up on most of the first XI.
Subait Khater is 31 and Ibrahim Diaky is 29, and the Emirati midfielders have been the foundation of the club. Diaky has been a reliable scorer and creative maestro in the centre of the field, and Khater was the dead-ball specialist who so often sorted out attackers in a holding role.
Diaky, however, has been out of form nearly the whole of the season and seems to have ceded responsibility for organising the team to Matias Delgado, the dynamic Argentine. Khater has been nearly invisible.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Khalid Sabeel, the rugged right-back, is 31 and is injury-prone, and the versatile centre-back Juma Abdullah is 29.
The foreigners, too, are getting long in the tooth; Delgado and Bare are 29, Ricardo Oliveira 31 and Lucas Neill 33.
In several matches this season, Jazira's age may explain curiously limp performances, by their recent standards.
They often labour to bring the ball into the attacking zone, and they are even more vulnerable to counter-attacks by opponents with pace. This may be the slowest Jazira team in at least five seasons.
Age may also explain the side's waxing and waning focus of which Franky Vercauteren, the Belgian coach, has so often complained. The Jazira of even six months ago played 90-minute matches; this side have often exerted themselves in bursts of 15 or 20 minutes.
An off-the-pitch factor to consider is this: with the departure of Phil Anderton, the chief executive who turned Jazira home matches into must-see entertainment, the home support has been muted. Do the players feel the lack of energy and see the smaller crowds? Will Al Ain bring more fans to tonight's match than Jazira can dredge from their suburban locale?
It often is rash to declare a match at the one-third point of the season as "crucial", but the description may apply to Jazira tonight, would-be dynasts.