It might have been short of excitement but the volume of goals - and the quality of many of them - were more encouraging signs for the Premier League on its return from a frankly fun international break.
Here are five talking points...
MOYES NOT CHANGING ENOUGH AT UNITED...
Despite a positive selection and the XI's enterprising football, David Moyes' Evertonian approach still crept into his set-up during Manchester United's draw with Southampton. Some profligate finishing encouraged Southampton, but not nearly as much as three substitutions in an 18-minute period which invited Adam Lallana's equaliser.
Ryan Giggs on the right wing has never worked, dating back as far as the 1999 Champions League final, Danny Welbeck, cruel as it may sound, is arguably more defensive than attacking an introduction and Chris Smalling's arrival for Wayne Rooney battened down the hatches.
Everton fans will have found such negativity familiar dating back to 2007, when Moyes withdrew attacker Manuel Fernandes and striker Victor Anichebe for defenders Gary Naysmith and Tony Hibbert at home to Tottenham with the score at 1-1. Jermaine Jenas hit the winner for Spurs two minutes from time. The football under Sir Alex Ferguson could be pragmatic, but he could derive more from this United squad.
BUT WENGER GOES FOR THE JUGULAR
Maybe Moyes could take advice from one of his predecessor's political heroes. John F. Kennedy once stressed, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future." While Moyes cannot shake off his past, Arsène Wenger daren't dwell on it.
The "Invincibles" were mentioned in his post-match press conference on Saturday and although he laughed off such premature comparisons his current Arsenal side boast their ruthlessness.
Jonny Howson's sweet half-volley with 20 minutes to go might have galvanised Norwich in previous seasons but it instead reinforced the hosts' focus. Unlike Moyes, Wenger commanded his players to regain their two-goal cushion, as attack proved the best form of defence. Thomas Vermaelen, Carl Jenkinson and Nacho Monreal were three defensive options available to him from the bench but Wenger ignored them in favour of Nicklas Bendtner, and Arsenal played their best football of the game.
3-4-1-2 DOESN'T BENEFIT LIVERPOOL
Although it would be a knee-jerk to immediately discard a formation after a disappointing result, it is unlikely Brendan Rodgers' 3-4-1-2 is the blueprint for Liverpool's future success. Victor Moses was the "1" who struggled behind Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez, when the Uruguayan would have thrived more in the No.10 role he doesn't necessarily covet, but excels in.
Moses' preferred position is on the wing, and while it is understandable Rodgers wants to place square peg Jordan Henderson in a square hole beside Steven Gerrard, it can easily be accommodated with another winger, rather than a wing-back. Raheem Sterling's progress has stalled but a first league start for Luis Alberto is due.
MOURINHO MIGHT HAVE TO STICK WITH LUÍZ
When David Luíz skipped over the ball and allowed Jordan Mutch to score for Cardiff José Mourinho might have considered withdrawing the Brazilian immediately. Considering the anger he later expressed over a delayed throw-in, it was an achievement his reaction to Luíz's defending was relatively passive.
The problem is the alternative is Gary Cahill, or Branislav Ivanović. Cahill is lucky to be at Chelsea, let alone in the first team, and Ivanović's sheer lack of pace makes him an unsuitable partner for the lagging John Terry.
Chelsea ultimately overcame Cardiff with ease but a sterner tests lies ahead on Sunday in the form of Manchester City, and already the symptoms of an unbalanced squad are showing at Stamford Bridge.
PAULINHO THE MOST MAGNIFICENT OF THE SPURS SEVEN
Gary Neville had one of his poorer days in the gantry for Aston Villa's loss to Tottenham ("A little kiss, always nice"), which made it predictable Andros Townsend would receive the man of the match accolade ahead of Paulinho.
Townsend scored one and gave his best Spurs performance of the season at Villa Park, but his flavour-of-the-month recognition overlooked the superb Paulinho. A midfielder who scores goals, creates goals and possesses an imposing figure, at £17 million he is an early candidate for signing of the season, and his measured pass for Roberto Soldado's clincher was exceptional.
Aided by the excellent Sandro's long overdue return, the Brazilian pair could emerge as one of European football's best central midfield partnerships.