We're still at an early stage of the Premier League campaign -- though six games into the season marks 15 percent of the league season -- and it's not too soon to be looking at standout individuals. Here are five players who have made a noticeable improvement from last season.
Theo Walcott, FW, Arsenal
Everyone thinks Theo Walcott has struggled to fulfil his potential. But Walcott's early Arsenal performances suggested he would become a good attacker rather than a true world-beater, and that's exactly what has happened.
After omission from the World Cup 2010 squad appeared to give Walcott a jolt of urgency, he was excellent for the three seasons that followed, managing 45 goals from a wide-right role. Then came the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament that meant he didn't start an Arsenal game for a year, exactly when he appeared to be hitting his peak.
Last season was disappointing, but Walcott has been spectacular so far in 2016-17, netting five goals from seven starts. It might seem a strange thing to say about such a quick player, but Walcott's movement over short distances has been nippier: His pass-and-moves are slick; and his run toward the far post to convert Hector Bellerin's pass against Chelsea showed intelligence and speed -- a lethal combination.
His brace against Basel showed the two sides of Walcott's game: the relatively new ability to be a poacher, scoring a close-range header from Alexis Sanchez's cross, as well as his old-school sprint into an inside-right position before a low, hard shot across the goalkeeper. It's not unusual for Walcott to start seasons well, but this has been seriously impressive.
Idrissa Gueye, MF, Everton
To the naked eye, there was little remarkable about Gueye's performances for Aston Villa last season. In a shambolic and ultimately relegated side, his role as energetic destroyer seemingly epitomised a Villa side that lacked anything like a clear structure.
Despite that, Gueye's statistical output was extremely impressive. He managed 4.1 successful tackles per game and 4.0 interceptions per game. That might not sound particularly impressive in isolation, but when you consider that he was second in the entire Premier League in both respects -- N'Golo Kante led the way in both categories -- it's clear Gueye had something about him. And so it has been proved this season.
Alongside Gareth Barry in Ronald Koeman's disciplined, efficient Everton side, Gueye looks at home. Barry is positionally reliable but somewhat lacking in mobility these days, so Gueye has freedom to charge across the midfield zone, putting out fires wherever he's needed.
He is now leading the way in terms of Premier League tackles (34 in six matches is a ridiculous tally), but more importantly, Gueye doesn't even require numbers to justify his contribution this time around. His quality has been obvious to even the most casual observer.
Raheem Sterling, FW, Manchester City
Sterling's first season at Manchester City was a disappointment, although that was perhaps inevitable after such a messy transfer from Liverpool. For all the tabloid attempts to paint Sterling as a money-grabbing tearaway, those who have worked with him suggest he is the complete opposite: a quiet, humble and hard-working player who simply wants to play football at the highest level he can.
Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City wasn't the right setting for a young, developing player. Although the Chilean likes attacking football and places his faith in flair players, City were atrociously inept at times, their tactical shape was all over the place and their discipline was seemingly lacking. The stagnation of senior players such as Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure hardly provided the right inspiration.
Under Guardiola, City are transformed. There are no question marks about work rate or level of commitment, and equally important is the fact that Sterling has been handed a role that suits his skill set. Guardiola wants his wide players to stretch the play and pin the opposition full-backs, and Sterling has thrived because he so often receives the ball one-against-one taking on a full-back.
But Sterling has also improved his performance in front of goal. Over the past couple of seasons, he would look to pass when in goal-scoring positions. But aside from once against Stoke, when he claimed an assist anyway, Sterling has appeared much more ruthless. Five goals in his past seven games help tell the story: Sterling is back to his best.
Adam Lallana, MF, Liverpool
It's always been slightly difficult to ascertain precisely how good Adam Lallana is. He's noticeable, more than anything else, because he's a distinctly "un-English" footballer: a playmaker based around guile, intelligence and passing quality rather than acceleration. When on form for England -- and he was probably his country's best player at Euro 2016, even if that's not a particularly great honour -- he's sensational.
Nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award in his final season at Southampton, there was a suspicion that Lallana's poorer performances were glossed over because he wasn't at a big club, where every display is scrutinised in detail; but once under the microscope at Liverpool, he often flattered to deceive.
But after sporadically good performances for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp last season, Lallana has upped his game for 2016-17. Klopp's high-tempo system theoretically doesn't suit Lallana, yet his speed of mind has proved crucial: he has a great understanding of when to press (crucial for playing under Klopp), and his intelligence to initiate quick passing combinations allows Liverpool to play around opponents before their defensive block is set.
Two assists and a goal against Hull last weekend showed Lallana's efficiency in the final third, and his newfound ability to pop up on the scoresheet has taken his game to the next level.
Etienne Capoue, MF, Watford
Capoue appeared to be one of the most underused Premier League players during his two-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur. He was a solid defensive midfielder with good positional sense, physical power and well-timed tackles, he also was capable of spreading play to the flanks with some decent passes.
Spurs' loss was Watford's gain, and Capoue was excellent last season in an extremely strict defensive role, usually forming a solid partnership with Ben Watson or Valon Behrami, instructed never to advance from his position in front of the centre-backs. This year, however, his game has been transformed.
Walter Mazzarri's appointment meant a change to a 3-5-2 system, and Capoue has been moved to a higher position from which he is allowed to bomb forward into the penalty box in search of goals. And he has come up trumps: four in six matches, including a couple of fine volleys, and an assist too. Capoue has become a goal-scoring weapon, and that is especially important for a Watford side that was overwhelmingly reliant on their strikers for goals last season.
Capoue won't be able to sustain his scoring form for much longer, but his attack-minded midfield role clearly suits him. In a Watford side playing a completely different system from last season, the Frenchman is the major winner.