For Manchester United's sudden slide down the table last season under David Moyes, one key competitor remains adamant they are just that.
Despite the Red Devils losing their defensive core of Ferdinand and Vidic, both released, and being 22 points behind winners Manchester City last season, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes there is no lasting damage.
The Frenchman believes the nous and pulling power of Moyes's replacement Louis van Gaal will be enough to steady United's ship, and they are still on the same level as Arsenal.
He told Arsenal.com: "I believe that Manchester United have appointed a great manager who has shown during the World Cup that he's top quality.
"It will certainly be difficult for us but for other competitors as well. We are all at the same level."
The positive United fans can take from his comment is that they are being seen still as title competitors, without Van Gaal putting his stamp on the squad so far.
Shaw and Herrera are not seen as the type of game-changing additions which can transform the Red Devils instantly, yet Wenger suggests United could be at or close to the level required already.
There is still plenty of time until the transfer window closes for Van Gaal to adjust to and strengthen his squad, and not having Champions League football to contend with, has the chance to be a positive for the club's Premier League pursuit.
It is still too early to judge just how close United will get to their rivals, but Wenger believes right now they are on an even playing field to everybody else. Which after the nightmare of 2013/14, is all United fans can ask for at this point.