Murphy is an English former professional footballer felt the way Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool played without key players on Saturday suggests Manchester City won’t have things all their own way this season — but for anyone else hoping to break into the top four, it looks ominous.
The one thing that has separated Pep Guardiola’s group from the rest is strength in depth, but the opening weekend indicates their three biggest rivals look stronger this time. You would expect Chelsea to beat Crystal Palace but the way they rolled them over comfortably without Romelu Lukaku, N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva was an eye-opener.
Manchester United put five past Leeds without starting with any of their first-choice front three — Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford.
Liverpool were in cruise control at Norwich with a midfield three of James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, rather than Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho who would be regarded as the best trio.
Guardiola will recognise this and it’s why I am sure he is keen to add Harry Kane, having already spent £100million on Jack Grealish. As for Leicester, Arsenal and all the other wannabees, it shows how difficult it’s going to be .
I think they were written off prematurely last season. To finish third when they struggled to field one recognised centre half at times was an achievement.
Having someone like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back will feel like a new signing. One weakness Liverpool have had is a a lack of goals from midfield but we know Oxlade-Chamberlain can score and I think it’s a big season for Curtis Jones who can also contribute.
I don’t think a relative lack of signings is entirely Jurgen Klopp’s choice, but he adheres to the structure of the club, doesn’t moan and likes to improve players he already has.
Diogo Jota started ahead of Roberto Firmino at Norwich and scored the first goal. Joel Matip was so cool in his comeback game alongside Virgil van Dijk, it was like the pair of them had never been away.
Title challenge rating: 9/10
They have built some squad at Stamford Bridge and are brimming with confidence. They ended last season by winning the Champions League and took that form into the game against Crystal Palace.
For Thomas Tuchel to make so many changes and for everyone to be at it right away was impressive.
The difference between Chelsea and Leicester, for example, is if Leicester lose Wilfred Ndidi or Youri Tielemans there might be a drop off in their midfield.
If Kante sits out a game, like he did against Palace, Chelsea call on two top internationals — Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic. That’s why Chelsea have to be taken seriously.
Title challenge rating: 8/10
Leeds was at the receiving end just has they did to other teams last season because they can’t contain Manchester United with such too performance. There was a freshness to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, they kept winning the ball back with real intensity and had the quality to make their possession count.
Paul Pogba can be magical has we can relate to his potentials, four assists against Leeds is a brilliant start to the season but he’s got to show consistency if United are to maintain a challenge.
England international Marcus Rashford’s injury means the French midfielder can play on the left with less defensive responsibilities.
United were content to play for goalless draws against the big teams last season but to take the next step they may have to be more adventurous without shipping goals.
The signing of Raphael Varane will help, but I am still not convinced about them defensively.
When Leeds equalised, they went through the gears and were rampant because having the fans back at Old Trafford seems to have helped the team spirit.
Title challenge rating 7/10
They’ve only been one game away from the Champions League in each of the last two seasons so you dismiss them at your peril, but would be disrespectful to write them off altogether, you do worry that they don’t have the options in their squad.
Title challenge rating: 6/10
I’ve played in teams who lost the opening game and still had good seasons but they allowed Brentford to bully them when the first rule of playing a newly-promoted side is to match them physically.
I also found some of Mikel Arteta’s selections bemusing.
Title challenge rating: 3/10
Daniel Ben Murphy is an English former professional footballer who played as a central midfielder.