Manchester United, current Premier League Champions. You have to go as far back to the 1990-91 season, the last time Red Devil's failed to finish in the top-four. Since then Alex Ferguson guided United to 13 Premier League titles in a trophy-laden spell. But the Scot brought an end to his glittering Manchester United career on May 2013, and tributes poured in for a man many hailed as the greatest manager the world has ever seen.
A new era, David Moyes, a fellow Scot, came from Everton to take over at one of the worlds most successful clubs, and succeed Sir Alex. A big job indeed; with the United job comes pressure and expectation, and if Manchester United fail to finish inside the top-four, it will be deemed as a disastrous season.
With rival clubs breaking the bank to bring in marquee signings, it has to be asked; are Manchester United in danger of missing out on a Champions League spot?
Two of United's league rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea have also brought in new managers, City opting to bring in Manuel Pellegrini from Malaga, and Chelsea have seen the return of the ''Special One'' Jose Mourinho. City went and done their transfer dealings early in the summer, bringing in four top-class players in Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas. Defensive casualties meant on deadline day they also brought in Martin Demichelis as cover for injured captain Vincent Kompany and young Serb Matija Nastasic. Transfer dealings for Uniteds arch-rivals accumulated to nearly £100,000,000, adding strength in depth to an already strong side.
Chelsea, have added creativity to a squad that already boasted talented individuals, but the failure to land Wayne Rooney is a blow to their chances, Mourinho turning instead to Samuel Eto'o. However with the swashbuckling Portugeese man back in charge, Chelsea will be rejuventated, and the West London side have made a solid start to the season with 7 out of 9 points. Chelsea are justifiably favorites to be kings of England come May.
Next is a look at three other teams, who will all be confident of their chances of a top-four finish. Arsenal have frustrated fans all summer with transfer inactivity, but the deadline day signing of Madrid's Mesut Ozil (the second biggest deal in British football history) is a massive coup for Arsene Wenger, who is looking to finish in the top-four for the 17th consecutive time. A win at the weekend over bitter rivals Spurs will also silence some of the Arsenal faithful who have their doubts about Arsenals title aspirations.
Tottenham Hotpsurs have seen Gareth Bale leave for Madrid but have signed more than half a team to replace him, Erik Lamela seems to have been the recruit to have captured the imagination the most. Fellow new recruits, midfielder Paulinho and striker Roberto Soldado will also be big assets to the North London side. Despite their defeat to Arsenal at the weekend AVB's men, they have been widely tipped to oust one of the top for, for a coveted fourth place spot.
Last is Liverpool, nine points from three games, three clean sheets, Brendan Rodgers side sit at the summit of the Barclays Premier League. Luis Suarez stays and he's been surrounded by a host of new summer recruits. At the back Tiago Llori and Mamadou Sakho join free agent Kolo Toure in strengthening a key department, and the signing of keeper' Simon Mignolent seems a coup, the former Sunderland man has been spectacular between the sticks. Contrast these five teams summer fortunes with Manchester Uniteds. Attempts to bring in Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alacantra, Danielle de Rossi and Anders Herrera have failed, as David Moyes looked to bolster his midfield options. Maroune Fellaini was brought in on deadline day for a inflated price of £28million, but he seemed to be a panic buy as moves for others crumbled.
Four points from a possible nine, including a 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool, and some United have conceded they might lose the title, some even go as far as saying they could finish outside the top-four.
It most be remembered that United finished 11 points ahead of nearest rivals City last term, and they couldn't of just become a bad team over night; and after all it is only September.
Moyes has made a shaky start, and it will be an interesting few months ahead to see his crop of players have the hunger and desire to challenge for the Premier League title.