We are all currently enjoying/enduring (delete as applicable) the second international break of this fledgling Premier League season with stars from home and abroad taking some time out from all matters domestic for a spell on their travels with their respective national teams.
They are I'm sure all enjoying themselves immensely but in their absence - and the absence of other actually interesting football news to digest - and with seven games now in the rear view mirror what better time to take a considered look at what we have learned so far.
And what's even better than a long, well thought out, balanced analysis? Some wild, sweeping, far-too-early generalisations that are absolutely, definitely, 100 per cent going to play out just as they have done so far for the rest of the season.
So with that in mind here we go starting with the top of the table...
1. A Manchester club will win the league
Talk about the bleeding obvious, but yes, the Premier League trophy looks all set to return to Manchester after a five-year absence. United and City have both set the pace for this season's title, sitting pretty at the top of the table with 19 points respectively. The ease with which they’ve swept aside their opponents bears testament to two teams nearing their prime after last season’s false dawn.
United have shown all the credentials of champions in grinding out results against the league’s lesser teams, even on the back of performances that still seeming to be missing that special edge. Having said that, they’ve yet to prove themselves against their top-six rivals and how they fare in these sort of fixtures will serve as a true indicator as to whether they can bring home the title.
As for City, their methodical win against Chelsea points to a team bearing all the hallmarks of a Pep Guardiola league-winning team. The Cityzens have been ruthlessly clinical so far this season, notching up 5-0 and 6-0 wins for fun. If Chelsea can’t stop them, very few will. The Manchester derby is shaping up to be essential viewing and one that could determine who wins the league.
2. Liverpool’s top-four hopes are already fading
“I really think it looks like we are not far away from [being] a real challenger.” Jurgen Klopp’s remarks, made after the draw at Newcastle, appear like they couldn't be more wrong right now. If they continue like this Liverpool aren't going to be challenging for the league this season. Not a chance.
The criticism raised against the club last season was their inability to deliver against sides outside of the top six, but despite a positive summer which saw them retain Philippe Coutinho and add Mohamad Salah to the ranks, Liverpool are continuing to fall foul of their previous transgressions. Klopp’s men are screening their very own Premier League version of Groundhog Dog, to the sheer horror of their fans who have seemingly purchased a ticket for life.
With their defence very much in disarray, and a reoccurring inability to finish off weaker opponents hindering their results, Liverpool are stuck on repeat. Forget competing for the title - their real challenge will be securing a top-four spot this season.
3. The Wembley curse will derail Tottenham’s title charge
Last season, Tottenham Hotspur would have beaten bitter rivals Chelsea to the Premier League if not for their inconsistent away form. This season the opposite is true. Spurs have administered beatings to Newcastle, Everton, West Ham and Huddersfield on the road, but the Wembley curse still looms large. It really is a thing. And it really is going to cost Tottenham the title.
Forget the cups, Spurs have looked lost at Wembley in the league and could comfortably have played for another 90 minutes against Swansea without finding the back of the net. The stadium lacks the intensity of White Hart Lane and Mauricio Pochettino’s team will be in damage limitation mode throughout the campaign as they attempt to keep pace with the Manchester clubs.
4. Everton need to put Koeman out of his misery
It turns out Jose Mourinho could have been right all along. “I think Romelu Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150million,” he smirked, not long after Paris Saint-Germain prized Neymar away from Barcelona for a world record fee of £199m. “The Neymar deal changed everything.”
Everton fans must certainly feel as if they’ve been significantly shortchanged. Because without Lukaku leading the line they’ve been woeful, their £133m-worth of summer signings failing to deliver despite expectations at Goodison Park being higher than ever.
They are a team shorn of confidence and Everton need to replace Ronald Koeman before the season ends up a write-off. Their Europa League campaign is already on the rocks and if they keep dropping points in the Premier League they won’t be returning to the competition next season. Considering how much they spent this summer, that’s simply not good enough.
5. Harry Kane will break Alan Shearer's scoring record
13 goals in eight games, Tottenham's main man enjoyed the most purple of purple patches in September sparking talk he will one day surpass the Premier League's greatest-ever goalscorer in the goal-getting charts.
And why not? Kane now has 110 goals in 172 appearances and is averaging a goal a game this term already - at that rate he will smash the 30-goal barrier for the first time in his career. Entering his prime it really does feel like the England man is better than ever.
Should he stay at Spurs, in a consistently competitive team - one clearly better than any Alan Shearer played in - and as said team's sole focal point then it is surely only a matter of time before he knocks Shearer off his 260-goal perch.
6. RIP 4-4-2
It’s hard to believe that Claudio Ranieri steered Leicester City to the Premier League title just two-years ago, playing a good old-fashion 4-4-2. Now, playing three at the back is well established as the Premier League formation of choice, ever since Antonio Conte kickstarted Chelsea’s successful season by reverting to the system in an away win over Hull, some twelve months ago.
Just about everybody is at it. Manchester City look much better in the system with their new full-backs bombing down the flanks, while Spurs look solid with record-signing Davinson Sanchez stationed between Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Manchester United have experimented with it too, and even Arsene Wenger saw fit to ditch his trusty 4-2-3-1 to include an extra centre defender.
Conte has already revolutionised Premier League football and the 4-4-2 already seems like a thing of the distant past.
7. Crystal Palace will be the worst team in Premier League history
Who will be Palace's emblem of failure for this season, their version of Paul Jewell's face, grunting like a French bulldog on the front of a Sunday tabloid? It's hard to say, but in a season that's already had its share of comedic farce it's difficult to see much light at the end of the tunnel for Crystal Palace.
Their best-case scenario was so good. Wilf Zaha and Christian Benteke spearheading Dutch total football to surge into the top half. That dream had the lifespan of Mayfly.
Squad-wise there was no back-up behind Benteke but that's not a problem, it's not like he's going to do his knee ligaments in September and leave the club with no senior alternative so they're forced to play a winger who has only ever been a Championship regular there - or perhaps an unproven academy kid. Oh, wait...
But what's funny is that this isn't the reason that Palace haven't scored yet this season. They haven't scored because they've been rubbish and if you don't score then you won't win. If you don't win, you're heading for the worst-ever Premier League season and a named etched in footballing infamy. If your name is etched in footballing infamy then it's hard to get away from because you're waiting years, possibly decades, for someone to be really, terribly bad. And then you're cheering their dreadfulness because you want someone else to feel more pain than you did and your club to no longer be the go-to laughing stock.
Palace began the season dreaming of 'doing a Leicester' but for the coming decades, teams could be dreading 'doing a Palace'