It's a very thin silver lining, but at least it looks like no Thursday night Europa League for United. Plus Flanagan, going to ground, Fergie, and managers' coats...
Brendan Rodgers is one of the best managers in football while David Moyes' time is surely coming to a close. Why give him another window and a war-chest?
Who's going to win the league?
Philip Cornwall: Manchester City.
Rob McNichol: If Rooney stays, then Manchester United. If Rooney goes to Chelsea.......still Manchester United, but a little less.
Nick Miller: Hull City Tigers. No, wait, that's the other end - Chelsea.
John Nicholson: Chelsea. Because by the look if it they'll have the best two midfields in the league, the finest hair (Luiz) and the finest buttocks (Ivanovic).
Matthew Stanger: Football will be the winner, followed by Manchester City. I like Manuel Pellegrini. His nickname is 'The Engineer', so that tells me he can fix things when they go wrong.
Daniel Storey:Dangerous opting for a team that hasn't finished in the top two for either of the last two seasons, but Chelsea, just. Only three managers have won the league in their debut Premier League season, so Manuel Pellegrini will have to adapt quickly, and Man United just need time to rebuild in the post-Fergie era.
Andi Thomas: Chelsea.
Alan Tyers: Chelsea. So many exciting forward players.
Sarah Winterburn: It's a toss-up between Chelsea and Man City but I've got a sneaky feeling about Manuel Pellegrini at City. While all the attention is on Jose Mourinho and David Moyes, Pellegrini could quietly go about his business and that business could be winning the title. I like Fernandinho an awful lot and a midfield partnership between him and Yaya Toure is potentially better than anything else in the division.
And give us the rest of the top four. In order. Please.
PC: Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea.
RMcN: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal.
NM: Manchester City, Manchester United, Spurs.
JN: Manchester City, Spurs, Manchester United (Moyes will kill their season).
MS: Runner-up: Chelsea if they sign another striker, Manchester United if not. Arsenal will sneak fourth again. Spurs to win hearts and minds.
DS: City second and United third, I think. Spurs have recruited some pant-stiffening players, and if Roberto Soldado fires then so will they. I'll plump for them over Liverpool and Arsenal.
Andi T: Then Manchester City, then Manchester United, then ... er ... um ... Tottenham? Maybe.
Alan T: Man City, Man United, Arsenal.
SW: Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal. Spurs will run them close again but Arsenal just know to grind out those fourth-place trophy finishes.
Who's going down?
PC: Hull, Crystal Palace, Stoke.
RMcN: Of the promoted sides, I think Cardiff might be able to spend their way out of trouble (though that didn't work for QPR), but Hull and Palace look vulnerable. I can see Stoke replicating Charlton of a few years ago. Long-term stalwart manager leaves over-achieving team, team consequently plummets. I can see Sunderland starting badly, ditching Paolo, then improving.
NM: Hull City Tigers, Crystal Palace and a few weeks ago I would've said Cardiff, but they've pulled their finger from their bottoms a little, so I'll go with Newcastle. Easy, I know, but man that looks like a shambles.
JN: Cardiff, Crystal Palace, Hull. A triumvirate of crap.
MS: Crystal Palace, Hull and either Cardiff or West Brom. Oh, I have to pick one? Cardiff then. Only because I doubted West Brom last season and it came back to haunt me. Fulham! I forgot about Fulham. Actually, I'll stick with Cardiff.
DS: Crystal Palace and Hull will be on everyone's list, I'm sure of that. I think Cardiff have spent good money, but still believe their squad to be below the quality of nearly every other side. In an attempt to be slightly unpredictable, Mark Hughes' task to reinvent Stoke City will also be mighty difficult.
Andi T: Crystal Palace, the Tygers of Pan Hull, and Stoke.
Alan T: Palace, Hull and, because it's always funny for a neutral when a big team gets relegated, I am going for Villa.
SW: Crystal Palace and Hull with very little fuss and Cardiff by a whisker.
Who'll be the top scorer?
PC: Robin van Persie.
RMcN: Since it's so dreadfully obvious to say Robin Van Persie I'll say Robin Van Persie.
NM: Whoever doesn't say Robin van Persie needs a talking to.
JN: Wilfried Bony. The new era of great Wilfs starts here.
MS: I have a sneaking suspicion that Edin Dzeko is going to have a good season, but Robin van Persie gets my vote (and probably everyone else's).
DS: Given that Bale seems destined for paella-based shores and Luis Suarez is as unpredictable as a rabid dog with the sh*ts, I can't look beyond Van Persie. That said, if Sergio Aguero retains his form of 2011/12 then 10/1 looks handy with four places each way.
Andi T: It'd be nice if it was Lukaku. He seems pleasant. But he may not get enough games, so I'll say Soldado. Because Tottenham are definitely finishing fourth. Definitely.
Alan T: Can't see how you can not say RVP.
SW: This is dull but Robin van Persie. He will outscore all the City strikers but there's one of him and four of them.
How will the promoted trio do?
PC: Cardiff are the only survivors.
RMcN: As noted previously, I don't think Palace will have enough. Especially given that they no longer have Zaha and will start the season without Glenn Murray. I'm taking Kingston Tigers to go down with them but The Redbirds of Cardiff to do OK.
NM: Covered above, I think. Hull City Tigers & Palace just aren't good enough, while Cardiff seem to at least have some ambition. They could do with a little more at the back, mind, and none of their strikers got into double figures last season.
JN: Whipping boys. Everyone else looks stronger than the promoted clubs by virtue of having had at least one extra season of investment and that is actually a large sodding cash advantage.
MS: I fear for Crystal Palace, but Hull will battle to the bitter end and Cardiff could sneak survival if Andreas Cornelius can supply the goals.
DS: I've mentioned all three to go down, so that about answers it. Cardiff will be the highest finishers, on that I'd bet my thumbs.
Andi T: Hull will be awful, and the new-found relevance of their brand won't save them. Palace will be spritely in a futile kind of way, and everybody will complain about Ian Holloway being wacky. And Cardiff City will be this year's Swansea, which will doubtless delight them.
Alan T: I've got a feeling Cardiff will stay up, this is not based on any particular confidence in their signings or indeed their current squad. It's a Welsh hunch, which is like Welsh Rarebit but with slightly more cheese. Palace = multiple spankings. Hull, plucky oblivion.
SW: I've already said. Weren't you paying attention?
Best new signing?
PC: Roberto Soldado in the short term, though he is on the old side.
RMcN: Value wise, Newcastle paying a couple of million to have Loic Remy on loan is a masterstroke. I actually think Aroune Kone will be well worth the £6million Everton have paid for him. Of the big money for big names, I loved watching Schurrle last season. I think Chelsea have got a good'un.
NM: Someone (I forget who) said that Roberto Soldado will score a lot of goals but you won't remember any of them. That's exactly what Spurs need. Nods to more or less everyone Norwich have signed and Emanuele Giaccherini. Wilfried Zaha looks like the real thing, too.
JN: Jesus Navas. A fast tricky winger always does well in his first season and he looks crucial to how Pellegrini will want to play, so he'll get a lot of games.
MS: The hipster in me tries to say Gerard Deulofeu, the crap comedian Abou Diaby, and the guy Winty's staring at and saying "just give a serious answer" plumps for Fernandinho. Spurs have made a hat-trick of excellent signings but City's new boy will be crucial in their title victory.
DS: Paulinho looks to have some serious class about him in central midfield, but I'm going to shun the obvious and go for Nathan Redmond. A fine effort for Norwich to pick up a talent for £2million who I believe will be playing in the top four in two to three years. After all, two million is the yardstick for bargain value, right?
Andi T: Steven "What A Fantastic Surname For A Centre-Half" Caulker.
Alan T: Obviously I'm hoping that Ricky van Wolfswinkel is going to score loads, just for the headline LOLs.
SW: Big nod to Norwich's summer business but I'm sticking with Fernandinho.
PC: Loic Remy's loan to Newcastle does not seem a winner, and nor does West Brom's purchase of Nicolas Anelka.
RMcN: You always have to look to value, I think. Strikes me £5million is a big gamble for Norwich on Gary Hooper. I hope for Sunderland that Jozy Altidore is better than when he was at Hull or the £6.5million they have paid for him might look a bit silly.
NM: In terms of value for money, Gary Medel probably won't spend enough time on the pitch due to ripping someone's leg off and throwing it into the crowd. Three-game ban for that, at least. Other than that, buying Andre Schurrle was a waste of time and Diego Lugano might not be pretty.
JN: I'm not convinced that Brendan Rodgers can spot a decent player for his side on anything other than a hit and miss basis, so it seems likely one or more of his signings will be an awful waste of money. Iago Aspas seems a decent bet to be the latest weeping by January and appealing to the Court Of Human Rights to be allowed to freed from the inhuman torment of Rodgers team talks.
MS: Cornelius is a huge gamble at £7.5million and Cardiff may regret not spending that money on a proven alternative, although plenty of people said that about Christian Benteke last year. The same concerns apply to Crystal Palace and Dwight Gayle, while Jozy Altidore has a lot to prove at Sunderland. As I'm hedging my bets, I might as well add that I think Diego Lugano will be a disaster at West Brom. That's right, a disaster.
DS: £23million on Andreas Cornelius, Dwight Gayle and Jozy Altidore - three strikers that sound like three quarters of Boyz II Men.
Andi T: Michael Owen. For one TV station to hire him looks like carelessness; for two, well, something sinister's going on.
Alan T: No offence (well, okay, this is offensive) but who in their right mind would pay £12.5 million for Victor Wanyama? Southampton, that's who.
SW: Cardiff signing Gary Medel for big, big money (for them). He'll want out by about November - just after his third red card.
Who'll be the first manager to go?
PC: Steve Bruce will quickly be wheeling out his excuses and the owners will want a shinier face to go with their club's new image.
RMcN: Feels like a Paolo implosion is the best bet. I can actually see a very patient Prem this year, with managers being given a fair crack. If, though, come Christmas, the Villa are facing another battle, Paul Lambert might be walking.
NM: Pardew. Unless Paolo di Canio goes off like one of those balloons that flies everywhere and makes a funny noise.
JN: Roberto Martinez after a disastrous start with Everton. Anyone with a 28.8% win ratio has fairly conclusively proved they can't organise a defence. More likely seems Steve Bruce just because everyone seems to get sick of him quite quickly.
MS: Alan Pardew is walking a greasy tightrope above a pit of naked Joe Kinnears at Newcastle, while Martin Jol hasn't received a great deal of backing from Fulham's new owner Shahid Khan so far. I think Pardew will lose his balance first.
DS: On the basis that he has the two biggest fancy-dan battle shirkers in the game, a new owner to please, a side with two players under 30 and took one point from seven games before last year's final day, it has to be Martin Jol.
Andi T: Barring a hilarious Paolo Di Canio meltdown, or a hilarious Mark Hughes meltdown, or a hilarious Jose Mourinho meltdown, Steve Bruce.
Alan T: Alan Pardew in massive cock-er-nee internecine bloodbath after losing power struggle with Joe Kinnear.
SW: Martin Jol - I just don't ever think there has been an air of permanency about his Fulham reign.
How will Luis Suarez mark his first game back after his ban?
PC: By taking his new team-mates in Liverpool's reserves out for a beer.
RMcN: He'll score, then hug his new manager Andre Villas-Boas.
NM: He'll take over the Tannoy at Anfield to make a very clear statement about his future at Liverpool, then write it out in fire on the pitch, then take out a 24-page ad in The Liverpool Echo reiterating his position. Then denies the whole thing in the Uruguayan press.
JN: Kissing the badge of whatever club he's playing for, then eating a kitten, dressed as Jimmy Savile while wearing a Stuart Hall mask. Naked.
MS: His first game back is likely to be a League Cup third round tie (if Liverpool beat Notts County. They really should beat Notts County), so I think it will be quite an uneventful occasion. A goal, an assist, a wave to the Kop, and to end a perfectly pleasant evening, a poem.
DS: He'll score, he always does in response to his own stupidity. He'll kiss his wrist, he'll show us his teeth and the commentator will say "well, isn't that just like him."
Andi T: He'll score twice. Against Rayo Vallecano. Then he'll eat a corner flag.
Alan T: Biting a mascot?
SW: With a hat-trick probably.
Who would you be most delighted to see fail?
PC: I have nothing against Hull supporters but the absurdity of the tinpot 'Tigers' rebranding deserves a Championship, or even League One, stage.
RMcN: That's not my style regarding teams, but I'd be delighted if the above prediction was wrong, though, and Luis Suarez is plying his trade for Bill Shankly's second favourite team, Liverpool Reserves.
NM: Given how some Hull City Tigers fans have taken such a curious dislike to me, I'm very much looking forward to taking the moral high ground and not mentioning it when their relegation is confirmed in February.
JN: David Moyes because it's a bloody travesty that he was given one of the biggest jobs in world football in an act of blatant nepotism. He already looks ridiculously gauche in the job. If he wasn't British, he'd be being mocked as out of his depth and under-qualified by the press. Look how AVB was treated when he arrived and he'd actually won a treble. There's no time to learn how to be a good manager while managing Manchester United, you should arrive already bloody good and a winner. Moyes fails on all counts.
MS: Norwich's Russell Martin. He knows why.
DS: Saying Michael Owen as a commentator or Harry in the Championship is too fish, gun and barrel to be worthwhile, so I'll go for Di Canio. I don't make any apologies for not liking the man, and any fall will be of a spectacular nature.
Andi T: In the interests of all-round entertainment, any of the new managers in the top three and/or Brendan Rodgers, for that way lies madness and madness is fun. In the interests of petty and personal vindictiveness, Jack Wilshere, for his face annoys me.
Alan T: Ooh, so many options for the spiteful neutral. I'm going to go for Fulham. Nah, not really. Man United and their interim manager David Moyes.
SW: Ian Holloway - lowest-ever points total, please. Which is a shame as I've always quite liked Palace.