Manchester United have been far easier on the eyes this season, but they currently sit on 37 points after 21 games, exactly the same as this time last season when David Moyes was in charge. Just let that sink in for a moment.
As a Premier League fan, the prospect of a massive, three-way battle for the title between City, United and Chelsea - with Arsenal sticking their noses in every now and again - is mouth-wateringly exciting. The top tier without a strong United feels weird.
The former Wigan star has emerged as one of Everton's most important players since joining last September. His injury was felt on Sunday and the Toffees need McCarthy fighting fit sooner rather than later if they are to mount a serious challenge for a top four finish.
Perhaps it's sod's law that three days after they've finally put together a good performance Spurs have to go to Chelsea who look more or less unbeatable. On the other hand, maybe this is exactly the right time to visit Stamford Bridge...
Spurs were so-so and won 1-0 because Partizan were worse. On Sunday, in-form Everton visit following their highly impressive 2-0 away win against Wolfsburg. Gulp.
This season Roberto Martinez's team have found it hard to replicate the kind of form that took them to the brink of breaking into the notoriously exclusive top four for just the second time. Despite an indifferent start, however, the Toffees have improved of late and the tightness of the league table so far means that a similar challenge could be on the cards in 2014/15.
Moving outside the comfort zone of the Premier League is a bold step for the Scot but if he can make an impression on La Liga, then he will prove to all of his doubters that he still has what it takes to manage at the highest level. Real Sociedad may just be the perfect place for Moyes...
As with any break, mangers and coaches have had the chance to regroup and plan the squad's development for the coming months. Improvement is the obvious aim for all the clubs, but for some teams the improvement will need to be far more dramatic than others.
Of the four, only Manchester United currently lie above Spurs - on goal difference - but they look more and more like the modern version of Ossie Ardiles's flaky 1994 Tottenham team which had the best attack in the league and the worst defence.
Louis van Gaal lauded Manchester United matchwinner David de Gea for "saving" his side during a slender 2-1 win over Everton