Manchester City boss Mark Hughes feels the air of invincibility surrounding the top four has been stripped away.
Although City were not able to capitalise on defeats by Chelsea and Liverpool on Saturday when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Wigan on Sunday, the cash-rich Blues appear capable of mounting a sustained assault on the Premier League's established elite.
Third-placed Tottenham are also riding high, while Aston Villa will hope to maintain a challenge as well having got themselves into a great position last term, only to throw it away in a dismal final 10 games.
Such a disastrous finale is unlikely to happen again, which Hughes senses has led to a twitchiness amongst the high and mighty, which just makes them even more vulnerable.
"There are some good teams in the Premier League this year," said Hughes. "There is a focus on ourselves because we have the ambition to have a good season. But the fact there is a threat to the teams who have had those top four places is adding extra pressure.
"You just sense maybe that feeling of invincibility is no longer there. Other teams think they can take points off them."