After just one competitive match of the 2019-20 campaign, theScore tries to pick the strongest starting XI for each of the Premier League's big six.
The quality of Unai Emery's attacking brigade means there will always be a huge name or promising young talent left out. Reiss Nelson may have to bide his time despite his impressive loan spell at Hoffenheim in the previous campaign, but Dani Ceballos' ability to collect the ball from deep and knit together Arsenal's lines could be more valuable than Mesut Ozil's pleasing yet sporadic contributions.
There's another tough decision to make in the deeper midfield slots, with Matteo Guendouzi's burgeoning potential impossible to ignore. Lucas Torreira edges out Granit Xhaka as the other pivot due to being more reliable. Behind them, Ainsley Maitland-Niles will probably be dropped from the right-hand side of defense when Hector Bellerin is finally fit again.
Kurt Zouma was the prominent scapegoat from Chelsea's opening-day humiliation at Old Trafford and may slip behind Fikayo Tomori in the pecking order. Nevertheless, Antonio Rudiger - when he proves his fitness - is the likeliest partner for Andreas Christensen in the backline duo. Marcos Alonso's recent form has effectively handed Emerson Palmieri his opportunity.
Willian should also start when he shakes off his thigh concern, and Ross Barkley deserves a run following some decent preseason performances, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi will push them hard for places after their respective layoffs.
There is no confirmed timeline for Alisson's injury absence, so he's still the No. 1 in this lineup and positioned behind the same defense and midfield that started the 4-1 bashing of Norwich City to begin the season.
Liverpool's frontline also has a familiar look, which is unsurprising given the team's reserved transfer window. Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane was benched for last Friday's curtain-raiser at Anfield after competing late into the summer at the Africa Cup of Nations, but he will undoubtedly win his place back from Divock Origi.
Fernandinho is a surprise selection in a back-four, but Pep Guardiola has repeatedly lauded the Brazilian's versatility and spoke up his credentials for a central defensive role. Fernandinho could be thrust alongside Aymeric Laporte in the near future, particularly after the shaky form of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi last term.
Elsewhere, Kyle Walker keeps new arrival Joao Cancelo at bay (for now) due to his ability to drift inside and forge a back-three. Attacking midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko is, somewhat remarkably, still the club's best left-back, as Benjamin Mendy is injured and Angelino is defensively vulnerable. David Silva, in his final season at Manchester City, remains a regular feature in the starting XI.
Suddenly, Manchester United's defense looks rather good. Barring injury, the goalkeeper and defenders should stay consistent throughout the season, and Paul Pogba's deeper role against Chelsea was met with rave reviews, as his distribution appeared to benefit from him seeing more of the pitch.
There will be more variation higher up the park. It's difficult to envisage a long-term future for Andreas Pereira as the most advanced midfielder. Jesse Lingard, who's fulfilled a similar duty for England in the past, or Juan Mata could shift into the central berth. The loss of Romelu Lukaku will be felt if there are one or two injuries in the attack but, until those possible setbacks, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can be a thrilling, fluid tandem.
Out of the big-six managers, Mauricio Pochettino's lineups are perhaps the most difficult to predict. He regularly changes his team's shape and will then tweak it some more during matches. Additionally, with Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon coming aboard, the Argentine tactician has even more versatile talents at his disposal.
Given Kyle Walker-Peters' tentativeness against Aston Villa, Juan Foyth's long-term layoff, and Serge Aurier's inability to nail down a run in the side, Moussa Sissoko might be a fruitful ersatz option at right-back. He regularly moves onto the right after one of Pochettino's in-game modifications and, in the above scheme, can move forward to allow the other defenders to flatten into a three and Christian Eriksen to move into the middle.