Manchester United have started the 2011-12 Premier League season in spectacular style.
Five matches, five comprehensive wins, a goal difference of plus 17, top of the table.
Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Nani on fire.
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez coming into his own after an injury-induced lay-off.
A fresh crop of youngsters, ready to step into the breach.
Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the best manager of all-time, renewed and re-invigorated, at the helm.
Hunger for silverware and a winning mentality, forged by years of success across all competitions, still very much there.
A perfect recipe for a repeat, right?
Not in my opinion.
United won the Premier League last season with a highly unspectacular squad. A squad that was effectively without Rooney and Chicharito till the new year. It is an achievement that I believe ranks among Sir Alex's best ever. I don't know of many other managers, if any, that could have galvanized a squad like that to achieve so much success across three competitions.
But this season is different. United's squad has undergone significant change. Some of their title rivals have strengthened too. The League, overall, continues to improve. And it is possible that their priorities may just be somewhat different this season.
Additionally, much of the public sentiment thus far has been swayed by United's stunning start to this season. Is it sustainable? We shall have to see.
This is not some kind of denouncement of United's prowess—far from it. They will certainly be in the mix, and strongly so—probably in all four competitions. I won't be surprised if they end up with a trophy or two. But come May 2012, I don't think they will be parading the Premier League trophy at Old Trafford. Read on to find out why.