As the clock ticks towards August, the trained eye can see none of the established 'top four' being any stronger than last year. On paper at least, the blue half of Manchester have made the most significant improvements.
But do they have a team? In Shay Given they have a solid goalie who is capable of heroics and Richards, when he calms down, is going to be an outstanding defender. Alongside Toure, who they should clinch today, the spine of their team is starting to take shape.
Barry is a sound player who keeps those around him calm in the middle of the park and up front they are better stacked than Wall-Mart in sales season. City are going to be a handful this year.
Romantics have wanted this top four rubbish crushed into the history books for a while now. Somebody, anybody, needs to break it to restore the soul to the game. This season, and I know predictions are the folly of fools, it will be broken by the neighbours. Sadly, this will be no triumph for the game's spirit.
In order to get through, City are spending the kind of money that would have Abramovich calling for the calculator and checking the sums. They have wrestled players away from major clubs, who should see them as rivals, and they have a fantastic chance of not just entering the upper echelons of the table, but topping it too. Damn.
Martin O'Neill, a man who has been around the game enough to know what he is talking about, states today that he can see them winning the league. He may be right, but Ferguson, and the full fury of Govan, still stand in their way. It is going to be tasty.
Threat: Significant. The rocky relationship that exists between Hughsie and Ferguson is likely to become bitter and unpleasant this year. Expect the derby games to be especially crunchy.
I grew up hating Arsenal. If they weren't pinching Cup Finals off us in the last minute they were playing the kind of George Graham inspired football that would make paint wish it were born dry.
Then Wenger, and his prettiest wife at home, muscled in and created a team of undisciplined professional foulers who had the temerity to win the double twice.
Retrospectively they have earnt my respect. Despite being the first English club side to field a team of non-Brits, they have developed a peculiarly English trait. Losing with dignity. Stylish they most certainly are, and they also demand huge respect for the manner in which their club is managed. But time may well have caught up with them now.
They should have won the league two years ago and have become steadily weaker since. Wenger's side are still capable of mesmerising any opponent on their day but I struggle to see them winning the championship this year.
Threat: On match-day - enormous. For the title -negligible. Will flatter, deceive and then implode.
Follow Mark at www.thedevilinme.co.uk
Photography from Alastair Thompson at FlickrComs