One of the traits of the Barclays Premier League is that it supplies a weekly series of snapshots that cause a wave of outlandish comment and opinion so feverish it requires penicillin.
The story of an intriguing Sunday at Anfield and the Emirates could be told by David Moyes, the Manchester United manager, insisting his team had played well though his expression belied the brightness of his words, and Andre Villa-Boas, the cultured strategist, racing 30 yards to tell one of his Tottenham Hotspur players to launch a long throw into the box.
In contrast, the smiles of Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager who used to win trophies, and Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager who has more projects than primary one, testified to the truth that pressure is part of the game but its removal can be a cause for some glee.
One afternoon, two defeats and four storylines.
Olivier Giroud's excellent finish provided Wenger with an escape clause, if only for the moment, giving Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
Wenger was the story of the first episode in the English soap opera two weeks ago. Cruelly exposed by Aston Villa, he was left forlorn and condemned on the sideline. A facile victory over Fulham, a safely negotiated passage to the Champions League and a defeat of his rivals now leaves him free to fail to sign the sort of player - a better goalkeeper, a holding midfielder, and a genuine world-class striker - that his side needs to provide a challenge for the league title.
Wenger will spend money today but the talk of Wayne Rooney, Luiz Suarez, or Gonzalo Higuain playing in north London dissipated on the cold wind of reality. In terms of the Barclays Premier League, Arsenal remain better than most and worse than three, maybe four.
They earned the right to celebrate last night because Tottenham could not quite find a cohesion, could not by some sort of alchemy change the solid metal of control into the gold of a goal. Yet Tottenham have bought big and well. They have the capacity to improve considerably and have signed players with assurance and purpose. They lost the battle of north London yesterday, but may yet win the war.
However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see either side as league winners. The same premature verdict can be applied to Liverpool, who defeated Manchester United, with Daniel Sturridge's early header highlighting the visitors' occasional detachment in defence and their struggle to score.
After Chelsea parked the private jet in front of goal on Monday, Moyes watched his side extend their goalless run to three hours yesterday. This is a laughably short space of time for most sides but not for Manchester United.
Rodgers, who came into the season on the back of the eternal Suarez storm, now can bask in the warmth of being an undefeated manager this season. This position does not promise to be permanent, however. Liverpool have their pleasing attributes, most notably the style and substance of Sturridge and the determination to try to play a passing game.
But they are bedevilled by deficiencies that will take more than a season to flush clear of a system clogged by years of poor buying and an acceptance of a role as a club that finishes near the top, but not at the top, of English football.
Their harrying, pressing game against United was draining, forcing them on to the back foot for the last third of the match and their willing, demanding work was almost undone as the champions finally found space as Liverpool flagged.
A restored Suarez will improve Liverpool's goal-scoring abilities and Simon Mignolet is an assured goalkeeper, but Liverpool can be undone on the flanks and are light in midfield. Rodgers can talk of progress and potential but can only dream of finishing first.
The title, though, is not only an aspiration at Manchester United but an expectation. The twisting of the lens yesterday brought the position of Moyes into a focus so sharp it could cut. Do not expect it to scar the United manager, however.
The champions have four points from three matches. This is the sort of statistic that forces presenters of radio phone-ins to issue tranquilisers to Demented of Salford. Moyes, though, will undergo a period of more measured reflection. It will in the first instance be brief. It has to be with hours now remaining in the transfer window.
He will look at the Swansea City match and see that top-class finishing ensured the scoreline was overgenerously tilted in his side's favour. He will not be dismayed by the performances against a canny Chelsea and a vibrant Liverpool. The results, too, were hardly shocking. A point against Chelsea is acceptable and United have won only once in their past seven visits to Anfield.
This nod to undeniable history will be met with a howl of despair from some United fans and the forming of some pointed questions from members of the press. The truth is that Moyes has inherited a side that won the title with ease but were in need of the sort of minor tweaks that require major money.
United dominated possession yesterday but failed to make many chances in a re-run of the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford - Robin van Persie's late slice of his right boot being the only genuine opportunity afforded to him.
Moyes needs added craft in midfield. He has already bid for Ander Herrera, who failed to play for Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, and attempted to sign Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines from Everton, who would both increase his attacking options, with the left-back being a potent auxiliary attacker.
It is undeniable that Moyes suffered a frustrating afternoon yesterday but it was pleasing for one Scottish manager.
Liverpool are top of the league. Happy birthday Bill Shankly.