Pre-season is over and the Premier League season is almost upon us. With the closure of the transfer window in sight, informed opinions can now be formed on who will be the success stories of the new campaign and who is set to be scrambling for points at the bottom.
As per usual you can expect the promoted three clubs to be among the relegation candidates, as well as perennial underachievers Aston Villa and Sunderland.
Elsewhere, Leicester City looked primed for battle at the bottom after an underwhelming summer, as do West Bromwich Albion who have not added much to an aging side.
Check out who will be predicted to narrowly survive and who will take the plunge back to the Championship:
With nine in and 12 out Tim Sherwood is clearly trying to impose his own style on the Midlands club after years of dour football under Paul Lambert.
Many of the signings were low key but enjoyed burgeoning reputations in Ligue 1. More importantly, they serve a purpose in making a previously leaky back four more resolute; getting more creativity from the middle and more goals from the strikers.
In Jordan Amavi they have a left back superior to the outgoing Aly Cissokho in every department; Idrissa Gueye was a regular defensive midfielder in a Lille side founded on defence first principles, whilst Jordan Veretout grabbed seven goals for Nantes in midfield - more than any other Villa player except the departing Benteke.
With that in mind, scoring goals was a major problem last season as they netted a meagre 31 goals. As such the forward ranks has seen the most investment as Scott Sinclair, Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede been signed. Alongside the prospect of Emmanuel Adebayor joining up before the transfer window ends they have the perfect balance of dribbling skills, pace, power and more importantly, goals.
Expect moments of inconsistency but the Villa Park faithful will not have too much to worry about.
Clubs who pursue this type of dealings eventually fall by the wayside, as West Brom almost found out for themselves under the tutelage of Alan Irving before Tony Pulis rescued them.
A lot of the plaudits also have to go to Saido Berahino. The Burundi-born England U21 scored 14 goals and was the main dangerman for the Midlands club.
This time out they have added Liverpool flop Rickie Lambert to the attacking line-up. Despite his move to Anfield failing, there is a widespread believe that this was more down to Brendan Rodgers not have a clear idea of how to play him. At Southampton he proved he is more than capable of getting double figures in goals and assists. With Brown Ideye finding form towards the end of a difficult season personally, the Baggies have more ammunition than they ever had before.
They have kept their first-team intact meaning Pulis' men should be resolute. Added together with greater firepower then they should avoid relegation with weeks to spare.
Of all the teams promoted clubs their transfer business has been the best. After conceding an alarming 50 goals in the Championship by have armed themselves with a pair of defensive midfielders. Tough tackling Valon Behrami will ensure they will win back the ball high up the pitch, whilst Etienne Capoue will be tasked with sitting deep and protecting the back four.
Elsewhere in defence they bought Greek left-back Jose Holebas who impressed last season with AS Roma in the Champions League and Serie A as he kept out Ashley Cole. Meanwhile, Allan Nyom
In attack Watford have plenty of ammunition in Troy Deeney, Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra, who signed a permanent deal with the club. However, they now have the added creativity of Jose Manuel Jurado. The Spaniard is a seasoned playmaker who has starred in Europa League victory for Atletico Madrid and a Champions League semi-final with Schalke.
The 28-year-old does suffer from bouts of inconsistency but with plenty going on in-front of him he will not be short of options going forward and will have protection.
Manager Quique Sanchez Flores has a lot of pedigree. A former Real Madrid player, he was the boss in charge when Jurado won the Europa League with Atletico and he was in charge of a very impressive Valencia side containing David Villa and David Silva. Albeit not Premier League proven, he commands respect and could his experience could be difference as Watford look to stay-up for the first time after being relegated straight away in their previous two stays in the top division.
They have spent rather modestly (£19 million at the time of speaking) including three freebies. Unlike their other rivals, however, their mantra will be to play positive football and rely on the team spirit that got them here in the first place.
The experience of Sylvain Distin and Artur Boruc will be vitally important to a defence that has relatively little Premier League games between them.
That said comparisons between Burnley and Bournemouth are premature. Unlike the Clarets, Eddie Howe's men have talented players going forward. Max Gradel lit up the Championship during his time at Leeds United and scored 17 goals last season for St Etienne in Ligue 1.
Christian Atsu, on-loan from Chelsea, is supremely skilled but has yet to show that on a consistent basis. Howe tends to get the best out of his attackers as Callum Wilson and Yann Kermorgant can attest to, and if he can get them all to step up then they will have goals in abundance.
One thing for certain, the Dean Court will see some of the most entertaining football in the league.
Yann M'Vila is a player who continues to live off the reputation of his youth when he was highly rated. The midfielder is akin to the striking version of Mario Balotelli in the sense trouble follows him where he goes. His loan to the Tyne Wear side is his second in a row after a disastrous spell at Inter Milan where his contract was rescinded after just eight games.
Securing Sebastian Coates on a permanent deal after impressing on-loan from Liverpool last campaign made sense but Younes Kaboul, a sluggish, injury-prone defender full of mistakes was nonsensical. With elder statesmen Wes Brown and John O'Shea set to play a big role yet again, the Mackems look like conceding several goals.
Likewise, selling Connor Wickham to Crystal Palace leaves behind three strikers who all have question marks over them. Jermaine Defoe is inconsistent and will be 33 in October; Steven Fletcher was once a solid Premier League forward but sustaining an injury towards the end of the 2012-13 campaign when he scored 11 in 28, he has since scored eight in 49. Meanwhile, Danny Graham is simply not up to scratch.
With Adam Johnson still on trial for allegedly having sex with an underaged girl, a massive cloud hangs over the club and it appears the Black Cats luck has ironically turned on them.
However, in Alex Neil they have a highly rated manager who will look to motivate his troops. At the age of 34 the former Hamilton Academicals player and boss has very little experience in management. That said he got the Accies promoted in 2013 and contending for the SPFL title in early 2014 with Celtic and Aberdeen before he left for Norwich last season. Testament to his skills, Hamilton began sliding down the table immediately he left, while Norwich who were outside the play-off places, shot up the table and nearly secured automatic promotion before winning the play-offs.
His lack of experience perhaps had a hand in him signing players who had Premier League experience as opposed to dining on the foreign market.
Players already under his wing like Cameron Jerome, Steven Whittaker and Sebastian Bassong have years of Premier League experience behind them, but are arguably not quite good enough for this level. Left back Martin Olsson has been relegated twice already with Blackburn Rovers and Norwich, and will probably be relegated a third time by May 2016.
It was a comeback for the ages and Nigel Pearson deserves every credit for orchestrating it. Why the hierarchy decided to mess up that momentum by sacking Pearson for Claudio Ranieri, a manager who has not done much since leaving Chelsea in 2004.
His last job with Greece ended lasted just over one year as he lost four out of five matches. He was also poor with Inter Milan during the 2011-12 season. Allowing Esteban Cambiasso to leave on free when he was their best player last season was equally as baffling.
Whilst their summer additions appear to be sound; N'Golo Kante is one of Europe's best tacklers; Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs will offer a lot of experience to the backline.
But whether or not Ranieri can bring the best out of these player remains to be seen. There is also an idea that their comeback last season whilst courageous, was aided by several poor clubs being around them. That is unlikely to be the case this season.