Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson.
2010-11 season: United were named champions for a record 19th time after both Chelsea and Arsenal failed to sustain genuine title challenges, but they came up horribly short in the Champions League final when being humbled by the great Barcelona.
Strengths: In Ferguson they possess arguably the greatest manager in the history of the game, while they ooze quality all over the pitch. The combinations of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in defence, and Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez in attack, are particularly formidable.
Weaknesses: Ferguson has entered into a huge gamble by entrusting the No. 1 shirt to David De Gea, a summer signing from Atletico Madrid who is only 20. Meanwhile, the loss of Paul Scholes to retirement has removed an element of creativity from a United midfield that can already look energetic rather than imaginative.
Key man: Nemanja Vidic. United's captain leads by example from the back, where he is undoubtedly the central figure given Ferdinand's propensity to fall victim to fitness problems. His uncompromising nature, never-say-die attitude and all-round excellence mean he embodies the qualities of the side he leads.
Ins: Ashley Young (Aston Villa, undisclosed); Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers, £16.5 million); David De Gea (Atletico Madrid, £17 million); Pierluigi Gollini (Fiorentina, free).
Out: Owen Hargreaves (released); Edwin van der Sar (retired); Paul Scholes (retired); Bebe (Besiktas, loan); Wes Brown (Sunderland, undisclosed); John O'Shea (Sunderland, undisclosed); Ritchie De Laet (Norwich City, loan); Joe Dudgeon (Hull, undisclosed); Corry Evans (Hull, undisclosed); Conor Devlin (free); Ryan Tunnicliffe (Peterborough, loan); Scott Wootton (Peterborough, loan); Nicky Ajose (Peterborough, undisclosed).
Manager: Andre Villas-Boas.
2010-11 season: A rare trophyless season under Roman Abramovich saw the Russian wield the axe and remove Carlo Ancelotti just one year after he secured the club's first ever Double. Ancelotti paid the price for Chelsea's rank inconsistency across the season, and in particular a shocking run of two wins in 11 games between November and January. Fernando Torres also struggled badly following his £50 million move.
Strengths: Experience, and by the truckload. The players who make up Chelsea's spine have delivered trophy after trophy, through managerial change after managerial change. The Blues have a good balance between defence and attack and a bench full of internationals.
Weaknesses: Sir Alex Ferguson was roundly criticised for suggesting in 2008 that Chelsea were too old to improve, but he was right. Anticipated graduates from an expensive youth academy have been slow to arrive and as a result the squad Villas-Boas inherits is somewhat old. Chelsea have also struggled to find a way to accommodate Torres, Abramovich's big January signing, while the loss of Michael Essien to injury is a serious one.
Key man: John Terry. Love him or loathe him, and let's be honest it's probably the latter, Terry remains an integral member of the Chelsea team and a much-needed constant at a club that is perpetually in a state of change in the coaching ranks.
Ins: Thibaut Courtois (Genk, £7.8m); Oriol Romeu (Barcelona, £4.3m).
Outs: Yuri Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala, undisclosed); Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid, loan); Jack Cork (Southampton, undisclosed); Michael Mancienne (Hamburg, undisclosed); Jacopo Sala (Hamburg, undisclosed); Gokhan Tore (Hamburg, undisclosed); Michael Woods (released); Sam Hutchinson (released); Carl Magnay (released); Jan Sebek (released); Danny Philliskirk (released); Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, two-season loan); Sam Walker (Northampton Town, loan).
Manager: Roberto Mancini.
2010-11 season: For many supporters, City enjoyed their best season in living memory. Not only did they end their 35-year wait for a trophy when winning the FA Cup, Mancini also took them directly into the Champions League when finishing third, ahead of Arsenal. Pretty much perfect, an errant drugs test, repeated training ground bust-ups and Mario Balotelli's weekly antics aside.
Strengths: Only the biggest pockets in world football. No one can match City's spending at present and their £400 million deal for the 'Etihad Campus' will help circumvent those pesky Financial Fair Play regulations. Thanks to the club's seemingly infinite resources, Mancini has a formidable squad at his disposal, with a sprinkling of world-class talents.
Weaknesses: A large squad represents a man-management challenge, while the saga of Carlos Tevez - top scorer and captain last season - has been an unwelcome distraction during pre-season and leaves real questions over the City attack. Mancini still favours pragmatism when facing the top sides, which could inhibit a title challenge.
Key man: Yaya Toure. Though many questioned the ridiculously expensive deal that brought him to the club from Barcelona last summer, Toure's starring role in the FA Cup triumph and his drive and quality in midfield have ensured he is an integral member of the team, supplying important goals and providing a physical edge.
Ins: Stefan Savic (Partizan Belgrade, undisclosed); Gael Clichy (Arsenal, £7 million); Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, £35m); Costel Pantilimon (Poli Timisoara, undisclosed).
Outs: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich, £11.8m); Shay Given (Aston Villa, undisclosed); Jo (Internacional, undisclosed); Patrick Vieira (retired); Javier Garrido (released); Shaleum Logan (released); Scott Kay (released); Javan Vidal (released); Andrew Tutte (released); James Wood (released); David Gonzalez (Aberdeen, loan); James Poole (released); Michael Johnson (Leicester, loan); Kieran Trippier (Burnley, loan); Ben Mee (Burnley, loan).
Manager: Arsene Wenger.
2010-11 season: By Wenger's own admittance, the most difficult of his 15 years at Arsenal. It all looked so good in February, with the club competing in all four competitions, but a shock defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final ushered in a disastrous run of form that saw them win three games in 16 to leave the club trophyless and the fans disaffected like never before.
Strengths: In Robin van Persie they boast a player who scored 21 goals in 23 appearances in the second half of the season, while Arsenal will always create chances thanks to their adventurous, attractive style of play. Jack Wilshere has also emerged as one of Europe's best young talents.
Weaknesses: The likely departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri make the swift recruitment of replacements vital. Despite Wenger's protestations to the contrary, Arsenal displayed once again last season that they are lacking a winning mentality or mental fortitude. There are legitimate concerns about the durability of a shaky defence.
Key man: As the focal point of the attack, and a possible captain should Cesc Fabregas depart for Barcelona, it is hard to overestimate Van Persie's importance to the Arsenal side. His link-up play in the final third is superb and knits Arsenal's approach play together. Van Persie's expert finishing will be key to the club's hopes of ending their trophy drought.
Ins: Carl Jenkinson (Charlton, undisclosed); Gervinho (Lille, undisclosed); Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton, undisclosed).
Outs: Mark Randall, Thomas Cruise, Roarie Deacon (all released); Gael Clichy (Manchester City, £7 million); Denilson (Sao Paulo, loan); Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Ipswich, £1.1m); Kyle Bartley (Rangers, loan); Wellington (Levante, loan).