The financial structure of modern European football means that the rich get richer and, as the very good stretch away from the good, the game becomes increasingly predictable.
It takes a billionaire to invest to upset the existing power structures, and that means that the higher reaches of the table are dominated by the same few sides year after year.
The Premier League is perhaps fortunate that it has — in economic terms — a big three rather than a big two (Spain and France) or a big one (Germany, Scotland and Italy).
But for all that, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea dwarf the rest financially. The fact that all three have changed their managers in the summer means that in 2013-14, the next three clubs — Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool — have a great opportunity.
This is not an open league in the way the league title was open in the sixties, but it is as open as it has been in well over a decade.
At Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has offered a constant. For 27 years he was a fixed point and, for at least the last 20 of them, it was impossible to consider that United would not challenge for the title, even if their squad at times seemed weaker than their challengers.
David Moyes may yet be able to prolong that sense of invincibility. He did an excellent job at Everton and is without doubt a very good coach; but he is not Ferguson and he has not managed a club of United’s stature before.
Logical as his appointment was, he does not bring the same sense of inevitability: for the first time in 20 years, there is a possibility of United stuttering and finishing only fourth or fifth.
Who knows how Manuel Pellegrini will adapt at City? Again, he has an excellent past record, even if his one season in charge of a genuine European giant, Real Madrid, ended in failure. But he has no experience of English football.
He does, though, have an excellent squad bolstered by four major signings in Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo.
Vitally, they did their transfer business early, so the new players should assimilate quickly: City could be the most attacking side in the Premier League this season.
The return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea, meanwhile, is fascinating, but signals yet another change in philosophy and so more upheaval.
He does, though, have an excellent squad, one bolstered by the signing of Andre Schurrle, who offers further threat from the creative line.
Arsenal and Liverpool, meanwhile, have a measure of stability and can build on what is already there.
If Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby stay fit, Arsenal are very close to being truly competitive, although they could do with a dynamic midfielder, a centre-forward and a reliable goalkeeper. There is a sense of anticlimax over their failure to land anybody notable this summer despite more promises that the money is available.
Liverpool, now seemingly set to hold on to Suarez, have an excellent young squad and, more importantly, a clear and coherent philosophy that should mean they are more than the sum of their parts.
For Tottenham Hotspur, much depends on Gareth Bale. Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli are intriguing additions but the loss of Bale would be a huge blow in the short term, even if they end up with a record fee to reinvest.
Competitiveness does not come easily to modern football, but there is every indication that the Premier League this season could be extremely enjoyable.