The fast opening of the early Premier League season comes to a halt after the last international break before the World Cup and an opportunity to reflect on the start of the season.
After just seven games, many big stories have already happened this season, while others offer the potential for long-running hits for the remainder of what looks like another highly exciting top season.
However, as a rule, no team has been bored, so Sportsmail has looked at the first part of each club’s season and given them a rating so far.
Here we go through part 1 of our Arsenal to Leeds United guide, with part 2 coming later in the week.
Position: 1 Points: 18
Much emphasis was placed on how Arsenal were going to start the season, especially after their dramatic implosion at the end of last season which saw them collapse and give away a Champions League spot on the final day which was pocketed to save the rivals Tottenham Hotspur from north London.
While Mikel Arteta’s position as manager was not in jeopardy, the former midfielder could hardly afford a slow start to the season, or even an inconsistent one, given the frustratingly slow progress he has made as manager since taking charge in 2019.
Significantly, the board backed the Spaniard with a transfer budget of around £120m over the summer and his patience is paying off after a near-perfect start to the season.
Heading into the international break, the Gunners lead at the top of the Premier League after convincing victories over Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth, Fulham, Aston Villa and Brentford.
They failed their big test, however, after falling against a Manchester United side still in flux under manager Erik ten Hag. As a result, their mentality still needs to be questioned in the biggest games against their Big Six rivals.
Nonetheless, it was their only failure so far, with some even pointing the Gunners towards a title win – including Brentford boss Thomas Frank, whose side was swept aside by the all-firing Gunners on Sunday.
Behind Arsenal’s excellent start to the season is how well the signings have settled in. New striker Gabriel Jesus is thriving with the responsibility of leading the line-up, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is also fully operational at left-back after arriving from Manchester City in the summer.
Fabio Vieira is in full swing in midfield and with Ethan Nwaneri becoming the youngest-ever Premier League player aged 15 at the weekend, it was even time to look to the future and propelled the club to young stars like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe look like veterans.
Another test awaits after the international break with a derby with Spurs but their home record against their rivals is excellent and another win would certainly make far more than Frank think a title shot could be a goal this season.
Position: 15 Points: 7
It’s been more than 10 months since Steven Gerrard took charge of Aston Villa but the jury is still out on the Liverpool legend after he replaced the sacked Dean Smith.
Last November, Smith’s team went into a nosedive after a respectable start to the campaign, but it’s telling that Gerrard’s side are three points worse off than they were at this point last season.
The pressure was eased on Friday night when they clinched a 1-0 win over Southampton at Villa Park after also securing a big point at home against title favorites Manchester City, but Villa remain one even after almost a year after Gerrard’s govern association in transition.
The summer has had its share of turbulence following the bold decision to strip Tyrone Mings of the captaincy but to Gerrard’s credit as manager and Mings’ professionalism it has at least not directly harmed the club with the centre-back returning to the side as part of the squad starting eleven
Gerrard also had to deal with matters that fell out of his hands when Major new signing Diego Carlos suffered a torn Achilles tendon and is now likely to miss the rest of the season.
There are concerns over Philippe Coutinho’s role in the first-team as the playmaker has yet to assist or score a goal this season since joining permanently from Barcelona in the summer after being loaned out at Villa Park.
Post-international break, Villa have some interesting clashes with trips to Leeds United and Nottingham Forest ahead of a home game with Chelsea – and by this point the direction of the West Midlands side under the former Rangers boss should be clearer .