Sunday sees reigning Premier League champions Manchester City and FA Cup winners Chelsea contest the season's traditional curtain-raiser, at Villa Park on this occasion. Here's where the match will be won and lost.
JOHN TERRY v SERGIO AGUERO
Terry was mercilessly mocked for helping lift the Champions League trophy despite being banned for last season's final but he has another chance to receive some silverware as Chelsea captain and earn further respite from his much-publicised troubles. Aguero will be looking to pick up where he left off last season after scoring the dramatic stoppage-time goal that earned City the title.
JOHN OBI MIKEL v YAYA TOURE
Mikel's Chelsea career looked in jeopardy before Roberto Di Matteo became manager but he ended the season as a crucial component of their midfield and was arguably their best player in the Champions League final. Toure hauled City back into the title race almost single-handedly towards the end of last season after their challenge had looked doomed and is arguably now the most complete midfielder in the country.
FERNANDO TORRES v VINCENT KOMPANY
To say this is a big season for Torres would be the ultimate understatement. Having struggled to adapt to Chelsea's style of play, Chelsea are now adapting theirs in a way that will surely suit their record £50million signing. Kompany was the rock on which City's title success was built and will need to be that again if they are to retain their crown and mount a serious Champions League challenge.