Sir Alex Ferguson believes Chelsea remain the team to beat this season but expects Manchester United and Arsenal to challenge them all the way.
After finishing last season by scoring 17 goals in their final three games, Chelsea have enjoyed a fine start to this season with heavy victories over the likes of West Brom, Wigan and Blackpool.
Ferguson admits Chelsea have the look of champions again but, while United and Arsenal both trail the Blues by four points, he feels the title race will go down to the wire again.
"Chelsea finished last season filling in the weaker teams with goals," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Anyway, they keep winning like champions and who wants to win this Premier League must definitely square up with Chelsea.
"Manchester United have started discreetly, like Arsenal. We and the Gunners will be in competition with Chelsea until the end. It's too soon to make predictions, but we mustn't forget Tottenham's progress. Houllier will need time at Aston Villa. The disappointment is Everton. I had them among the favourites: they only have two points."
Roberto Mancini's Manchester City have shown only glimpses of their undoubted potential so far, but Ferguson feels they will be genuine contenders.
"Manchester City haven't started very well, but with the squad Mancini has they definitely have to be in the running," he said. "I have seen them beat Liverpool 3-0, showing power and quality.
"Mancini has bought half a new team. It's difficult to find the right chemistry quickly. When they find continuity, they will be a threat for everyone."