What a pretty Premier League picture the table paints this morning.
First up, all hail Signor Ranieri and his fearless foxes. The quiet dismissal of Nigel Pearson was a bold move. Not least because Big Nige always has the bearing of a night-club bouncer who's just on the right sides of losing it. I saw a miffed silverback behind some bars over the summer and I swear he was giving me the Pearson glare.
Of course his dismissal - it would seem - was as much down to his errant son as anything Nige did (given he turned the tepid water of early season form into the heady fizzy wine of survival. His dismissal had more to do with his racist slur-using son - yes I'm sure some of his best friends are Thai - than anything Dad did. But who better to fill those shoes than the lovable Tinkerman?
Yes we all recall with great fondness his happy demeanour, his comical English and his mind-bogglingly changeable first elevens. Except he's not a chump, is he? He kept the same backroom staff that oversaw Leicester's amazing run-in last spring; he's identified what the team have that makes them good, namely great pace up front, terrific persistence and in Mahrez a lad with feet as nimble as Nureyev's. And he hasn't rotated the squad like they were rabbits on a spit.
Lo and behold they are playing brilliantly. It won't last though. Then again they said that about Southampton - and they were pretty much correct.
Secondly the very foot of the table has a familiar ring. Newcastle, strong enough to hold up the rest of the division, seem bound to plummet. Ashley seemed desperate to court McClaren even as John Carver looked certain to choke the life out of the club. The idea that Smiley Steve is the Saviour is a rum one - clearly Ashley would hire a fox to guard his chickens.
Just a quick glance at Derby's form in the last couple of months of the Championship could have told you that. Not even a play-off spot was indescribably bad. So far Newcastle have displayed the worst tendencies of a McClaren team, tentative in possession, unable to pick up the pace, rarely dangerous unless they're 2-0 down and there's nowt to lose. The squad looks bright enough but he needs to sort out his shit quick or Joe Kinnear will land on his shoulder like some great cockney albatross of Doom.
Of course the Big News is that Jose Mourinho's Chelsea are a bag of bona fide horse manure. There's been almost as many radio hours dedicated to their dreadful start as there has to the emergence of a socialist leading a socialist party in the UK. (I mean what the hell is this atheist republican doing not singing God Save The Queen?)
It's difficult to decide where the rifts are deeper, Walworth Road or Stamford Bridge. Mourinho's problems run deep. While his surprising humble and open post-match interview on the Beeb made you think that here was a man ready to roll with the circumstances, other factors suggest the delusional paranoia that helps to build a bunker mentality can also divorce one from reality.
The petulant hissy fit cos Martinez was answering questions before him on Saturday wasn't the act of a patient man in control of himself. More The frontline, led by a Diego Costa with all the dynamism of a narcoleptic hippo, couldn't cut through cellophane right now. The defence looks doddery with Ivanovic lumbering around like a concussed bear.
Nothing is working out for Jose. He blames misfortune - a couple of deflections went the wrong side of the post. Another of seeing that is that the defenders made good blocks. Everton score three from five shots. Unlucky Chelsea? Or clinical Everton. The sort of goals to chances ratio that Mourinho thrives on.
But much of it is Mourinho's making. The pursuit of Stones, nobly denied by Martinez, can't have reassured the present incumbents in the Chelsea squad. The haranguing of the team doctors seems to have left even those most self-centred of human beings professional millionaire footballers aghast at their poor treatment.
It's not a happy camp. Fabregas - a name that always sounds to me like something you take with you when you go camping - is playing like he's sprung a leak. JT just looks pissed off. Ivanovic could be replaced by a mighty oak and there'd be more difficulty getting past him.
Meanwhile the whole unseemly cesspit of cash sees hundreds of squad members being given out to the needy as if they were out-of-date sandwiches from a high-street retailer with a conscience. It's a bleeding travesty and the fact that it's not working is DELIGHTFUL. Yes, Mourinho did get one thing right. We ARE enjoying it, HUGELY.
Long may the topsy-turvy look of the league continue.
Of course some things remain the same - like Man City's European form being miserable. And football still being a contact sport with all the occasional horrors that that results in. Get well soon, Luke Shaw. At least time is on his side, but that's hardly a silver lining.
What might cheer him - and the rest of us - up is a perky 2-1 win for Maccabi Tel-Aviv tonight. It's far from unlikely. Hehehehehehe.