England's top teams crawl out of hibernation this weekend as the Premiership bursts back to life after its summer slumber.
Manchester United celebrated its third straight league title back in May, but the usual suspects will be hot on the Red Devils' heels once again, hoping to wrest away the top spot in the world's most competitive league.
Here we take a look at the burning questions that will decide the fate of the new English Premier League campaign.
1. How will Manchester United cope without Cristiano Ronaldo?
If any team is capable of withstanding the loss of the world's second-best player, then surely it is United with its time-honored system and conveyor belt of talent. Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Obertan were brought in, but more than anyone, it was hoped that Nani could step into the void left by Ronaldo's switch to Real Madrid.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
1. Manchester United
4. Manchester City
7. Tottenham Hotspur
8. Aston Villa
9. Blackburn Rovers
11. West Ham United
12. Bolton Wanderers
13. Wigan Athletic
15. Birmingham City
16. Stoke City
19. Hull City
However, Nani's injury in the Community Shield means Sir Alex Ferguson will have to do some reworking in the early weeks of the campaign. While United is still a heavy favorite to add a fourth straight title, another EPL crown is far from guaranteed.
Answer: United miss some flair and explosiveness without Ronaldo, but his absence is felt more keenly in the Champions League. Another title heads to Old Trafford.
2. Can Manchester City's huge spending breach the Big Four divide?
One by one they arrived, a small army of multimillion-dollar superstars heading through the gates of the City of Manchester Stadium. No club in Europe except Real Madrid outspent City's billionaire Middle Eastern owners this summer and the end result is a squad full of firepower.
Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez will seriously beef up the attack, but look for the signings of Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure to be even more criticial.
Answer: City's expensive squad has not been together long enough to challenge for a Premiership title, but expect a fourth-place finish and a spot in next season's Champions League.
3. Is the EPL becoming bottom-heavy?
While the big guns remain dominant at the top, the gap between the EPL's second- and third-tier teams also seems to be widening.
Eight teams smack of weakness and it would be no surprise to see any of them relegated. Wigan, Sunderland, Birmingham, Stoke, Portsmouth, Wolves, Hull and Burnley all have glaring problems. The good news for them? Only three can be dropped.
Answer: This could be the most bottom-heavy EPL for years. But things may improve next campaign, with Newcastle and Middlesbrough favored to be promoted from the Championship.
4. Who can step up?
Aston Villa made a great run under Martin O'Neill last season and was temporarily in contention to crack the Big Four. However, a late-season collapse pushed Villa down to sixth as Everton sneaked ahead. These two clubs remain the best chance for success among the smaller-budget teams. O'Neill and Everton's David Moyes are two of the most astute managers in the league.
Fulham and West Ham also have high hopes after impressing in 2008-09, but they will be too short on firepower to make a real splash.
Answer: Everton will impress again but has to make do with a place in the Europa League (formerly UEFA Cup). Villa suffer from mid-season inconsistency and fall behind a fast-improving Tottenham side.
5. Can Gerrard and Liverpool cope without Xabi Alonso?
Alonso was the glue that held the Liverpool midfield together last season, allowing captain Steven Gerrard freedom to roam. Anfield boss Rafa Benitez reckons Lucas can step into the gap left by Alonso's sale to Real Madrid, but the Brazilian midfielder has big shoes to fill.
Gerrard, being a hometown hero and England international, has always gained most of the attention at Liverpool. But Alonso was an unsung hero who contributed much to the team's challenge for silverware and will be missed.
Verdict: Lucas finds it tough to perform at Alonso's level and Gerrard finds his own impact hindered by a lack of support
6. Is Carlo Ancelotti the real deal?
The big business of the summer turned out well for Chelsea, with both John Terry and Didier Drogba agreeing to stay with the club. Now it is up to new manager Carlo Ancelotti to show just why billionaire owner Roman Abramovich feels he is the right man to lead the side to success.
Ancelotti comes with a glittering resume from his AC Milan days, but he will start the season under pressure. Chelsea's patience is running thin after three years without a league title and still no Champions League silverware. Ancelotti must deliver.
Answer: Ancelotti has the charisma and know-how to be successful with Chelsea, but his squad looks better set up to claim the Champions League prize rather than the EPL this season.