Manchester City might have had a resurgence of sorts at the start of this decade, but whether their dominance is set to continue as of 2015-16 is something only time will tell.
'Money and big names' have been termed by many as being the main reasons why Manchester City have been successful over the years and it is indeed these that helped Manchester United's noisy neighbours notch two Premier League titles in the span of three seasons.
Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini remained the masterminds of the club to guide them to the two respective laurels, but what has been amazing is the fact that in the last five seasons, the Citizens have finished in the top three.
The likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, and Jesus Navas -- brought in over the years -- have overturned the fortunes of the club.
Manchester City, however, have been a bit subdued when bringing players this summer is concerned. Only the English trio of Fabian Delph, Patrick Roberts and Raheem Sterling have been roped in, but make no mistake, they are indeed key players in their own right.
But will these players help the Mancunian side maintain their consistency in the table this season as well? It might look certain, considering their pre-season performances.
However, former Man City custodian David James begs to differ on the same.
"I generally think Man City, of the top four [Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool], are the weak link," James was quoted as saying by Mirror.
The former Kerala Blasters man has tipped Liverpool to finish ahead of City this season, and that too despite the high-profile transfer of key starlet Sterling from Liverpool to Manchester City, this summer.
"Man City, again, they have got all this talent, they have won the title twice — or rather tripped over the line twice," the 45-year-old continued.
"Look at Chelsea last season. The title was won in November. If Arsenal had started better, I think Chelsea would have carried on longer just to win the league by ten, 15 points, whatever.
"I don't see the Man City model being right, just spending loads of money and acquiring players. It isn't necessarily the model of continued success. I have seen changes elsewhere and at the moment I am not seeing that at Man City. It is just spend a bit more and expect success."
A good start to the league is something that James stressed on, but if the pre-season performances of Pellegrini's side this summer is concerned, it hasn't been too bad for City.
They recorded four wins and two losses in the friendly games this summer, and one of their losses came against heavyweights Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup.
However, the football loyalists do point out that the preseason performances are not the be-all and end-all of how the main season is going to pan out.
And with the loan move of strikers Stevan Jovetic (Inter Milan) and an imminent £14m sale of Edin Dzeko to Roma this summer, the attacking department may look a bit edgier.
But the presence of Sterling and Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho, along with Aguero and Wilfried Bony is set to work things out in favour for City.
They are meanwhile also in the market for Wolfsburg hotshot Kevin de Bruyne, and Manchester City are reportedly set to launch a bid of £57m to land him up at Etihad.
In a nutshell, the presence of key men Silva and Aguero -- who have proved to be the star performers last season -- is going to matter a lot this season as well.
The only thing that needs to be worried about though is their fitness, and their vulnerability to pick up injuries.
The Citizens travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom in their first Premier League game of the season on Monday, 11 August.