Chelsea, who were not in Europe but won the domestic title by seven points in Conte's first season in charge, have signed four players so far, including striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid. They hit a resurgence in the new year, face another cold spell around March, followed by a really strong finish.
Arsenal will be looking to bounce back after an embarassing season last term missing out on their Champions League spot after finishing fifth.
What gets lost in all the turmoil of last season is that it was actually more of an aberration than what should become the new normal.
In an off-season that has seen more than 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) invested in players, Manchester rivals City and United have accounted for more than a third of that spending.
Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal's club-record £46.5 million ($60.6 million, 51.6 million euros) signing from Lyon, had a more low-key debut, but Wenger was encouraged by his performance. Trailing 4-1, they at least managed a late rally to make the scoreline respectable.
There is good news for the Gunners.
"They can play together, most definitely", said Shakespeare. The media will spend the whole season trying to paint a picture that Sanchez and Ozil are distracted by their contracts, but frankly that's a bunch of bologna.
Alexis Sanchez has returned to training recently but he wants to leave.
The skills of Liverpool's dynamic attack, which includes Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho (although he may be on his way out) and Sadio Mane, should be on full display in this game, and Watford should be able to punch back a little bit to keep the match interesting. This is the same thing. His tame response to the high number of players out of contract, the failure to land necessary transfer targets and ponderous tactical approach means he still has work to do to justify his retention.
"We need to transform the quality of the preparation into points and that is, of course, a pragmatic view, but what matters is we win the game and start in a strong way, which we didn't do previous year".
At the end of the day, Arsenal will be fine.
The Gunners are gearing up for their first season without Champions League football for over two decades, so it will be intriguing to see how they fare in 2017/18, with very different challenges on the horizon.
"I know that it's important for him to play".
The Chile global has been linked with a move away from the club this summer with less than a year remaining on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium and could walk away for free at the end of the upcoming season. To change from a top four team to a title-winning team, they must get over their Stamford Bridge hoodoo.