You sense that at both the start and finish of the arriving international break, plenty will browse the Premier League table with a bit more scrutiny than is usually the case at this time of year. The opening two months of the season have been so wonderfully chaotic (for any neutrals, at least) that re-familiarising oneself with where it's at is pretty much an imperative.
Crystal Palace are a case in point, having crept up to a heady fourth place on the back of successive wins. Their manager Alan Pardew has never been known for his subtlety, but Palace's progress under the man who famously scored their winner in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool has proved that leopards really can change their spots.
Palace's upwards trajectory since Pardew's appointment in January has been relentless. His achievement in plucking his new side from the relegation zone to a top-ten finish was extraordinary, and has led many to claim that Newcastle made a huge mistake in willingly letting him go.
The argument that his former club have gone from bad to worse since his departure is a poor one, however, with the Geordies' woes more related to Mike Ashley's own management since than the lack of any Pardew magic. A more sober assessment is that he had become very stale at St Jamess' Park and overstayed his welcome by several months, at least.
Yet Pardew's work so far back on his old stomping ground is firm proof that relationships run their course, and that people move on and change for the better. Palace have been nothing short of sensational since his return to south London, and his team's ambition and maturity in this campaign so far demands that they must be taken seriously.
His increasingly stodgy tactics at Newcastle did nothing for talents like Hatem Ben Arfa and Remy Cabella, which needed nurturing, but he has provided a platform for flair players to flourish at Selhurst Park. The intermittent use of his wingers, Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon, in more central roles has been imaginative, as was his decision to start with another, the outstanding Yannick Bolasie, as a lone front man in the recent trip to Tottenham.
The forward players owe much of their freedom to the incoming influence of Pardew's trusted muse Yohan Cabaye. The France midfielder has been used in a more defensive position - surprisingly, perhaps, given his success as a de facto number 10 at Newcastle immediately before his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain - and has given Palace great solidity.
The first game back in the swing of things after the break, against another former Pardew club in West Ham, will be a fascinating one, especially given the Hammers' thrilling unpredictability since Slaven Bilic took the helm.
Having the joint-best defence in the league with just seven conceded (albeit a title shared with four other teams) gives Palace reason to look beyond this, however, to the bigger picture. Competition may be fierce, but the fact that Pardew's team look so organised and that they can hope to do even better if their strikers start scoring (Cabaye is the top scorer so far with three, two of which were penalties), means that they have earned the right to dream.
They are hardly fancied to finish in the top six, but look an interesting bet at 4.03/1.