Seven games in and another pause in the Premier League has allowed for the perfect time to reflect on the season so far.
Manchester City lead the way after their explosive start to the campaign, but recent weeks suggest that Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal will be hunting them down all the way. Manchester United and Chelsea have slightly underwhelmed after big managerial appointments, with Everton and Crystal Palace making highly optimistic starts.
At the bottom, Sunderland, Stoke, West Ham and Swansea all look like sides who could be in for a troubled season, and after a good start the same could also be said for newly-promoted Hull and Middlesbrough.
New managerial appointments could have a say in things, but it’s the players that will have the biggest say in what happens in the next chapter of the season.
Here we reflect on the best performing players of the season so far and who would make the team and manager of the season at this stage:
The 28-year-old Southampton goalkeeper was injured at the start, but three league clean sheets in a row have coincided with some exciting Saints form, and another England call-up for the goalkeeper.
The exciting young full-back has been ever consistent in the Arsenal team this season. The 21-year-old has created seven chances, and secured an assist in the 3-0 win over Chelsea. His passing rate is an exciting 84% rate, suggesting the full-back could be become one of the best attacking full-backs around.
Virgil Van Dijk
Three league clean sheets in a row for the Saints, and clean sheets in the Europa league also has propelled the side this season thanks in most part to talented defenders. Van Dijk has made 58 clearances this season, and 20 interceptions, making him one of the best centre-backs in the league.
Having only conceded three goals this season, Spurs have the best defensive record in the league, with Toby Alderweireld at the heart of it. Four league clean sheets, and the player himself has intercepted 11 times and cleared 46 times, making him vital for Spurs defensive roles.
The 30-year-old’s versatility is remarkable. Now playing at left-back, the Englishman has been crucial in the Liverpool set-up, scoring four penalties, getting one assist and creating 13 chances for his team-mates. He might not have kept any clean sheets, but an 87% pass rate and a 100% shooting rate certainly makes up for it in terms of excitement.
The 27-year-old signing from Aston Villa has been a revelation this season. Gueye has the highest attempted passes of any Everton player – a total of 352, and he makes 90% of them. His one assist and nine created chances have propelled Everton to a good start under Ronald Koeman.
The Watford midfielder has scored four goals this season and was central in the Hornet’s good win over Man Utd. The 28-year-old has an 83% pass rate, creating seven chances and has one assist on his record in what has been a fairly good start to the season for Watford.
The new signing from Southampton looks a steal for £35m after his start to life at Liverpool. He destroyed Arsenal on the opening day, and just sneaks into this team ahead of team-mate Philippe Coutinho because of his rapid form.
Three goals, eight chances created and one assist for the Senegalese, with a 79% pass rate (76% of them all being forward passes). An incredible start.
Kevin De Bruyne
There was only one option for the best attacking midfielder so far this season. His side is top of the league, and the Belgian has four assists, with 20 created chances, 16 key passes, and has an 83% pass rate. The 25-year-old was compared to just below Messi by manager Pep Guardiola and in this form, it’s easy to see why.
The best player in the league this season. Nearly left Spurs in the summer, and the 24-year-old has come from nowhere to be the first name on the team-sheet. Four goals, two assists and has created 12 chances for his team-mates, in form that has propelled Spurs to second in the league. With a pass rate of 84%, not to mention his tenacity and ability to take on players, he is the most exciting player so far this season.
A close-call between Aguero and Zlatan, but Aguero gets the nod as he has scored more goals. Five goals in fact, with three in the Champions League. He has created six chances with an 81% pass rate, and it is important to remember the 28-year-old has missed games this season due to suspension.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
The Spurs manager has the best defensive record in the league so far, and was mightily impressive in taking a side that self-imploded at the end of last season to second in the League table. He is missing the likes of Harry Kane, but has made players such as Son re-ignite their careers. The first manager to win in a battle with Guardiola, and he looks set for another title run-in.
Team of the season – 4-2-3-1 formation – (August to October):
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Stefan Willoughby