The 13th round of Premier League fixtures are upon us, and, one third of the way through the season seems as good a time as any to assess the best players of the campaign so far.
There's been a few surprises, a few standout performers, and a couple of early contenders for player of the season.
Some of the most exciting play has come from new signings, the likes of Santi Cazorla at Arsenal, Oscar and Eden Hazard at Chelsea and Robin Van Persie at Manchester United.
The names at the top of the table are as familiar as ever, and by and large, the names under consideration at end of season award presentations rarely change either.
So, rather than base any judgement on reputation alone, we've decided to look at the statistics to determine who's played the best so far. Will the stats hold up under scrutiny?
Luis Suarez - Liverpool | 10 goals
The Liverpool star is a definite contender for player of the season. The Uruguayan forward has always been a world-class player outside the box, but he's now added goals to his game. The Anfield club have struggled, but Suarez has been superb.
Demba Ba - Newcastle | 8 goals
Overshadowed by Papiss Cisse towards the end of last season, Demba Ba has managed to recapture some of his early Newcastle form this term. Alan Pardew will just hope the pair of them can find form at the same time.
Robin Van Persie - Manchester United | 8 goals
The Dutchman barely flinched after swapping Arsenal for Manchester United. His kit may have changed, but Van Persie just keeps scoring goals.
Juan Mata - Chelsea | 6 assists
The Spaniard has been superb for the Blues since signing from Valencia, and the arrival of Oscar and Eden Hazard has only served to spur him on to even greater things.
Bryan Ruiz - Fulham | 5 assists
The Costa Rican international needed time to settle after his big-money move, but it's been worth the wait. Martin Jol's team have looked good, and in Ruiz and Dimitar Berbatov, the Cottagers have one of the most creative forward pairings in the league.
Eden Hazard - Chelsea | 5 assists
The £32m signing from Lille has had an instant impact since joining Chelsea, but even his great form could not save Roberto Di Matteo from the sack. And if he had a striker firing on all cylinders, he surely would have had more than five assists.
Pass completion percentage
Per Mertesacker - Arsenal | 92.9%
It's something of a surprise to see Mertesacker at the top of the pass completion table, but the tall Germany international has little else to do except pass across the back line for most of Arsenal's matches.
Mikel Arteta - Arsenal | 92.8%
No real surprise to see two Arsenal players atop the pass competition rankings, and no surprise to see one of them is the classy Spaniard. What's most impressive is Arteta passes more than any other player in the Premier League - he was first to pass 1000 completed passes - and he does so at the second highest percentage.
Rio Ferdinand - Manchester United | 92.5%
See Per Mertesacker
Man of the Match awards
Carlos Tevez - Manchester City | 4
The Manchester City man was key to City's resurgence at the tail end of last season, he's been a crucial match-winner already this season, and will continue to be an important reason why the Premier League champions stand an excellent chance of repeating.
Marouane Fellaini - Everton | 4
Noises coming from the Belgian's camp suggest a move to a Champions League club could be in the offing. Of course, Everton's early season form could see him stay put at Goodison Park, but that's unlikely. A real handful of a midfielder, his goals this season have added an extra facet to his game.
Santi Cazorla | 4
The former-Malaga playmaker has slotted seamlessly into the Arsenal midfield. And the Spain international makes a strong case to be named the Player of the Season so far. Whether he can maintain his excellent start remains to be seen, however.
The last word...
Top Three Players of the Season so far...
Santi Cazorla - Arsenal | 7.98 / 10
Luis Suarez - Liverpool | 7.78 / 10
Dimitar Berbatov - Fulham | 7.75 / 10
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