You may think the Premier League has slipped back to its usual, familiar shape this season – but there are some surprising quirks to be found.
Prepare to be flabbergasted – these facts prove the Premier League still has the power to amaze.
1. Middlesbrough have a better defensive record than Manchester City.
We start with an absolute banger of a stat – Middlesbrough have conceded just 16 goals, while Manchester City, who have one of the most expensive defences ever assembled, have conceded 19.
Four of those came in City’s latest game, a 4-2 defeat against Leicester – meanwhile, Boro have only lost one game by more than one goal so far.
Furthermore, newly promoted Middlesbrough have accrued a respectable four clean sheets, while the Citizens have only half that, with two. De-fence.
2. Crystal Palace are the fifth highest scorers in the Premier League so far.
Yes, you read that correctly: Crystal Palace, who sit 15th and have won just four games, have scored more goals in the league so far than everyone except the top four.
Palace have scored 27 times in the league, with 10 goals in their last three games after a 5-4 defeat against Swansea, a 3-0 win over Southampton, and a 3-3 draw against Hull.
Even more remarkable is that Alan Pardew’s side failed to score in their first two games, which means they’ve averaged more than two goals a game since. What a weird and wonderful team.
3. Chelsea have kept 47% of the top four’s clean sheets.
A stat that draws attention to the fact teams are having real trouble keeping clean sheets: Chelsea have recorded eight shut-outs, while the rest of the top four have nine between them.
Arsenal have managed four, Liverpool three, and as mentioned previously, Manchester City have recorded two. In 15 games, those are pretty poor ratios.
Chelsea’s rearguard has rumbled into action in time to take them three points clear at the top of the league, with seven clean sheets in their last nine games.
4. Bournemouth have hit the woodwork 13 times.
Now this is a rather difficult one to put into context, but Bournemouth have struck the upright on no fewer than 13 occasions – the next closest are Arsenal, Manchester City and Stoke, four behind on nine.
The Cherries have lost three games by a single goal, and drawn three games. Those woodwork worries might have made all the difference.
Furthermore, on-loan Bournemouth midfielder Jack Wilshere has hit the woodwork four times so far this season by himself. How’s your luck?
5. Chelsea are 22 points better off than at this stage last season.
The turnaround of the last 12 months could well go to Leicester, who have gone from champions to chumps – but Chelsea’s upturn in form is just as stark.
With the 2015/16 season 15 games old, the Blues had 15 points and sat in 14th position. This year, after nine wins in a row, Antonio Conte’s side are top of the league with a mammoth 37 points.
A frightening prospect for the rest of the division, and Chelsea are unburdened by European football as well. With Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Stoke up next, we can’t see Chelsea slipping up for the time being.