The Punter: Nothing can stop Manchester United
One thing Sir Alex Ferguson took out of the Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, was the need to develop a rapid passing game if his Red Devils are to scale fresh heights.
And it was there to be seen in the 3-2 Community Shield destruction of a Man City team which seemingly refuses to learn anything from the defensive idleness and blunders of last season.
While Roberto Mancini keeps relying on poor quality players, not least the embarrassingly ineffective Mario Balotelli, City are doomed to continue suffering the blues in Manchester.
As for the title this season, forget it as far as City are concerned and focus on United landing their 20th crown.
Fergie has bought wisely in the transfer market, including goalkeeper David de Gea despite his pre-interval blunder which gave City a two-goal advantage before the comeback kings turned everything around. Par for the course considering last season when landing gambles by overturning two-goal deficits against West Ham and Blackpool plus winning matches in the last couple of minutes.
No wonder punters weighed in at Wembley with United out to 18-1 at the break and on offer at 30 (29-1) on Betfair.
United are a brilliant price at 2-1 to retain the title with Ashley Young and Nani serving up an example of what opponents can expect during a long campaign.
Before that, lump on for three points in the opener at West Brom at 4-6.
By the way, United are are amazing 11-2 to be champions for Paddy Power new phone account holders, provided they place an initial bet of £50.
That's also the maximum stake for the treble odds offer. In other words, anything over £50 will not apply.
Alternatively, a first-time customer can avail of £50 on United and a free £100 bet on anything else. The offer is also available on other teams — 15-2 Chelsea, 10-1 Man City, 24-1 Arsenal and 30-1 Liverpool.
Arsenal's Arsene Wenger stubbornly refuses to get seriously involved in the transfer market and with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri looking for the exit door, the Gunners are expected to misfire once again. Defeat in the League Cup by Birmingham City, is indicative of not handling pressure.
Liverpool still have too many questions to answer and that leaves Chelsea as United's principal rivals. Expect a better response from Fernando Torres and in new boss Andre Villas-Boas, they have a man who's a trophy collector after his treble success with Porto.
A repeat one-two from last season’s league finish is on the cards and is available at 5-1.