It's the same old story again and every pundit will repeat the same mantra.
Since they ceased to be a going concern six years ago, Arsenal's pattern has been like a scratched record: lots of promise, a threat of a title run but a terrible spine that sees them capitulate - and mostly against weaker teams.
But this time out I'm not even sure they can even hint at a threat - as always they're lacking a proper spine down the middle: a strong striker to play alongside Robin van Persie, a tough experienced central midfielder, anything close to a fit centre-half worthy of the club and, as I've been saying since Jens Lehmann was released, a keeper (Wojciech Szczesny has potential but he simply isn't ready yet, not with that shambles of a defence to organise).
This time it's even worse though! What they do have - lovely, skilful midfielders like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Oh dear.
These ridiculous sagas have been appallingly managed by the North London club, and to a lesser extent Cesc: Nasri's made it clear he won't sign a contract, so the choice is simple for Arsenal - sell him and replace him, or let him go on a Bosman.
Let's start with Nasri. We knew months ago that he wanted out, so why not stop horsing about, sell him to City for £22 million, and buy Mata when his release clause is still set at - yes - £22m. No?
And then Cesc - he's been a bit two-faced by refusing to submit a transfer request when we all know he wants to go to Barca, and when none of us would blame him for it. They're the best team in the world, with the best players, and one of the best coaches. And it's home. By sitting about refusing to decide on his future he's doing Arsenal no favours and - until he allegedly agreed to forego his loyalty bonuses - was not helping negotiations.
As it stands all he has done is insult the fans' intelligence and drive his own price down when all he needed to do was say "I love Arsenal, but I really want to join Barca", agree to the transfer and allow Arsenal to get the best deal and time to replace him properly.
It's hugely frustrating and points to a lack of proper control of the situation from Arsene Wenger.
Anyway, what Arsenal should have been doing from the moment the window opened was sorting out the defence. Chris Samba has been pining all summer and he's exactly what they need - fearless, wins everything in the air and even gets goals. At the moment teams know that all they need to do to ruffle Arsenal's feathers is to lump it in the box: teams are actually scared to lump it in the box with Samba around, because he'll win it all day and eat your centre-forward for starters before munching on the rest of your team.
Every successful Arsenal team had a big hard so-and-so who defended like his life depended on it: Martin Keown, Sol Campbell and Tony Adams. They don't really need a fantastic footballer at centre-half, and even if that's what Wenger wants he's scrimping over a couple of million for Phil Jagielka and hasn't even bid for Gary Cahill - yet he's happy to spend £12m on another winger.
Another winger, who is also an untested teenager who has only played in the third division. I made the jump from the third tier to the top flight when I left Fulham, and it was a difficult but manageable transition.
But times have changed since then. A lot. The gap is much, much greater. You have no idea if he will make the step up - and certainly not for that money, even if part of it is add-ons. He has pace, sure. But will his touch be up to it at that level? Does he have a better footballing brain than Theo Walcott? You hope so but, again, there is no way of knowing.
And what the heck is Wenger doing anyway? You buy 17-year-olds for big money if your first team is sorted; get the XI fine-tuned THEN look to the future. He keeps looking to the future, and by the time the player has developed, the previous prospects have moved on and the youngster already has itchy feet. Ad nauseam.
So, after a promising season once again fell to pieces - losing the Carling Cup to a poor Birmingham side was unforgivable - Arsenal should have been strengthening. But for the first game of the season they will be weaker, although Gervinho seems like he could be a good signing.
It's so frustrating. I'm not even an Arsenal fan yet it drives me up the wall.
Game of the weekend: Newcastle v Arsenal
Last season this was the game, the tipping point, when it became apparent that Arsenal lacked stomach. Throwing away a four-goal lead against an ordinary Toon side was ridiculous and it was the catalyst for the end-of-season nightmare that saw Arsenal blow it on all fronts.
The margins between success and failure at the top and bottom and so narrow that Arsenal need to come out flying if they're to have any chance of banishing the talent-drain they are suffering at the moment. They also need to banish the memory of last season's match, which has become stuff of legend on Tyneside (and White Hart Lane).
Newcastle, meanwhile, have big problems of their own. There is a strong undercurrent of dressing-room unrest - it's not even really an undercurrent, given how everyone's gone public.
They have lost their three best players - Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique - and are about to lose their fourth in Joey Barton, all of whom have complained of board issues.
But I can see another issue and that is Alan Pardew. He doesn't really do well in dressing rooms, does he? There were issues at West Ham, at Charlton and at Southampton. Maybe he's the problem - and maybe that's why his mate Mike Ashley brought him in, given he seems to be hell-bent on clearing out all the top earners.
Upset of the weekend: Stoke v Chelsea
Stoke are doing great things in the transfer market, and they were brilliant in the second half of last season.
They have strengthened, they've increased the height advantage and technically they have improved too. They're short of qualifying for the Champions League, sure, but year-on-year they improve the squad and performances and it's all down to Tony Pulis.
He can get the extra inch from players, having learned his trade in the lower leagues with men of limited ability, yet he can adapt to the added tactical requirements of the top flight. And he can spot a player too.
The reason I'm picking this is not because there is any particular problem with Chelsea - egos aside, I think they'll do well this season, with a good young manager and a balanced if ageing squad.
But the Britannia is a fortress and, with Stoke confident after getting to the FA Cup final and showing some strength in Europe, I can see it being almost impenetrable this season.