Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes the Premier League's traditional 'big four' no longer possess the same air of invincibility.
In recent seasons the top four places in the table have been dominated by Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, but Hughes is spearheading a charge to break up that cartel.
City lie fifth in the table following Sunday's 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic, while Tottenham sit third with Aston Villa and Sunderland also hot on their heels.
Liverpool have been the chief strugglers so far this season after losing four of their opening nine games, leaving Hughes to predict an open race for the Premier League title.
Potential"You sense the air of invincibility about the big four has gone, and that is good for the league," said Hughes.
"It also helps the cause of the two or three clubs - ourselves included - who have ambitions of breaking into that group
"This year has the potential to be as open as it has ever been.
The top four teams will drop points. That has been evident at the beginning of the season and it will continue.
"What everyone is trying to do is get into a position by March or April where you are still in contention and you can be a factor.
"There are going to be a lot of games of real significance at the end of this season rather than it just petering out really for some teams.
"That has to be good for the Premier League."
Hughes also believes securing a point at Wigan with 10 men is a sign of the progress City have made over the past 12 months.
He added: "This was a point we probably wouldn't have got last year.
"Our mentality has changed with stronger characters coming into the club and we were able to see it out fairly comfortably in the end.
"In the circumstances we have to be reasonably happy with a point. Wigan are a good team, as they showed against Chelsea, and they will win more games than they lose here."