As we undertake the second international break of the Premier League campaign, managers, pundits and supporters alike can reflect on the opening two months with a sense of clarity and understanding.
New signings have been given ample time to settle, fitness levels should be good and managers should now be able to deduce who their best team is and what system to deploy.
Still, in what can often be an experimental first eight weeks of the campaign, there have been some fantastic individual performances and plenty of key highlights to boot.
As per the graphic above, these are the XI North West based players who have excelled in their role.
Manchester City’s Joe Hart has been playing behind a solid defence this season yet on the occasions he has been called upon, he has exceeded with minimal fuss – conceding the least per appearance.
The back four consists of Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling, City skipper Vincent Kompany and Liverpool’s summer signing Nathaniel Clyne.
The Reds have made a poor start the season and it has cost Brendan Rodgers his job.
However, Clyne has been a standout performer and arguably the signing quickest to settle on Merseyside following his switch from Southampton. He has averaged 2.8 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per match.
In a conventional 4-4-2, City’s Yaya Toure is partnered by Everton’s England international Ross Barkley.
The Toffees man has been the best player on Merseyside this season, scoring twice and adding a further three assists in eight starts – justifying his inclusion in England’s starting line-up versus Estonia.
City maestro David Silva has been absent in three matches and his side have sorely missed him, losing two of them. With six assists in five matches, he’s among the most creative players in the league.
Another Spaniard in the form of Juan Mata also makes the best XI, impressively scoring three times and adding a further three assists in eight starts.
With two striker spots upfront, City’s Sergio Aguero and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku deservedly make the team as the duo have a hugely impressive 11 goals between them.
Aguero is widely regarded as the best striker in the league and the most likely to win the Golden Boot award next May, an opinion he backed up with his recent five-goal haul against Newcastle United.
While not quite reaching such heights, Belgium international Lukaku certainly looks like he’s enjoying his football more this season and has five goals and two assists to his name.
The former Chelsea man spearheads Everton’s best team in years, and one which has the potential to challenge for a top four spot as early as this season.