The vast majority of Premier League fans assumed Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur would be battling it out for the fourth Champions League spot this season, but with the Gunners top of the table and Spurs just a point behind, the build-up to the North London Derby has taken an unexpected turn.
There is every reason to believe that both clubs can launch a title challenge this season, not least because the usual top two appear to be slightly below their usual level.
Manchester City have dropped points in two matches and despite Erling Haaland's goals (which are almost certain to stop Harry Kane 9.517/2 or Gabriel Jesus 11.010/1 in the 'top scorer' market) are occasionally looking a little weary, something that could be exacerbated by the fatiguing World Cup.
Liverpool's collapse, meanwhile, has gone on for too long. Jurgen Klopp won't be hitting 90+ points this year.
This allows us to get excited about Arsenal and Spurs, and in particular the prospect of their head-to-heads, given the contrasting tactical ideals of their respective managers.
It should make for a brilliant derby and, quite possibly, one of the most surprising title battles in recent times. Both represent good value at the moment, with Arsenal are available at 11.010/1 and Spurs at 12.011/1.
Gunners have style but may lack depth
The most notable improvement at Arsenal is the Guardiolification of the team.
For a while, it looked as though Mikel Arteta was finding an alternative path but in retrospect he was merely improvising before he had the right squad to enact his mentor's philosophy of perfect triangles and pitch-length rondos.
The 3-0 victory over Brentford was the best example yet of Arsenal's positional detail and the automatisms that come from practicing the same build-up routines over and over again.
After signing the highly intelligent and Guardiola-trained Oleksandar Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus, who can perform in multiple positions, Arsenal can finally enact the swirling possession football Arteta craves.
Elsewhere William Saliba has partnered Gabriel to create the first stable centre-back partnership in years, Martin Odegaard can dictate the tempo with Bukayo Saka now that Thomas Partey is settled as the anchor, and Granit Xhaka is flourishing in a role that focuses on his brilliant press-resistant distribution.
This fluency is captured in the statistics, too. According to FBRef, Arsenal are averaging 58.6% possession this season, up from 53.2% last year, while their number of 'progressive passes' have risen from 31.9 to 40.7 per game.
There is greater urgency and intent, with Arteta regularly allowing his team to counter-attack now they have the outstanding Jesus as a piercing number nine willing to receive the ball to feet.
However, Arsenal have enjoyed a relatively easy fixture list so far this season (they have simply matched all of their results from the corresponding games, aside from the Brentford win) and were beaten 3-1 by Manchester United in their first major test.
What we learnt from this match, in which United out-fought the visitors and took advantage of huge spaces between the lines, was that Arsenal lack depth.
It only took Partey's absence for things to fall apart, as Albert Lokonga made multiple positional errors leading to United goals.
Granted, they beat Brentford without Martin Odegaard, but looking at the bench on Sunday it was clear the Gunners will struggle when this exhausting fixture list brings injuries to key players.
It is arguably the only thing that is holding them back, and therefore should they get lucky prior to the World Cup - and add one or two names in January - then Arteta can push into the high 80s and seriously challenge.
Certainly they are a good bet in the 'winner w/o Man City' market, at 3.613/5.
Back Arsenal to win the PL w/o Man City at 3.613/5
Conte's pragmatism is being misread
It is puzzling onlookers that Tottenham are unbeaten and picking up points without playing particularly well, but that simply reflects the unfashionable nature of Conte's football.
He deploys a midblock and does not press high, instead seeking to draw the opposition out in order to counter behind, relying on sharp vertical football based on efficiency and a few key automatisms.
Consequently Tottenham games will never look particularly convincing to the untrained eye.
The same could be said of Chelsea in 2016/17, except that back then there were fewer obsessions around aesthetic and possession dominance as a mark of skill. In other words, Spurs supporters should not be worried that their team ranks 12th for average possession and fifth for key passes.
In fact, what is particularly exciting is that Spurs are grinding out Conte-like wins before things have clicked, which typically happens for his teams when we enter autumn.
What's more, they have ridden out a Heung-Min Son dip in form without an impact on results, partly thanks to the increased depth with Richarlison in the wings, while we are yet to see the best of Ivan Perisic (whose crossing ability will ultimately provide Spurs with a greater goalscoring threat) or Yves Bissouma (a major upgrade on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg).
Unfortunately, Spurs still seem light of one wing-back - neither Emerson Royal nor Ryan Sessegnon are quite good enough considering their prominence in Conte's system - and they remain short of a creative central midfielder who can change the direction of a game.
Like Arsenal, they need to hope they can hang on in until January, when reinforcements will be needed to keep things fresh.
The first game back from the international break is the first Blockbuster encounter of the Premier League season.
For Arsenal, defeat would raise concerns their strong start reflected the easiness of their fixture list, while for Spurs, losing would signal that Conte's football might just be a little too negative for the modern Premier League. Victory for either would spark serious talk of a title challenge.
It is almost impossible to call, but their contrasting styles means one thing we can hope for is goals.
Spurs will happily concede possession and territory in the hope of inviting Arsenal up the pitch, countering behind their high line, while Arsenal will be confident in their own suffocation tactics.
It should be similar to Spurs' 3-2 win over Guardiola's Man City last season, when Conte's counter-attacks created a stretched contest. Back over 3.5 goals at 2.68/5.