After a summer marked by intense transfer activity, speculation and denials, the new English Premier League season begins this weekend with one thing still the same, the big four way ahead of the rest.
The heat is on the champions Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool teaming up for the major football trophies. With their new manager Luis Felipe Scolari, Chelsea ready to test United's two-year lead at the top.
Having been pipped by United to the title on the final day of last season, and lost to them on penalties in the Champions League final, Chelsea are bent on revenge, tempting Scolari to leave his job as Portugal coach to take over from Avram Grant as coach.
"Big Phil" as Scolari is affectionately known, is a big personality and he has already set his sights on the title, saying: There is no reason, if all goes well, that we cannot win every competition we enter."
Scolari's first move was to bring his Portugal playmaker Deco from BarcelonaJose Bosingwa to fill the right-back role. With Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack having stayed despite tempting offers to move abroad, Chelsea should be stronger this season.
And Scolari is ready to have mind games with his veteran counterpart,Sir Alex Ferguson, usually the king of the mind games.
"I read that Scolari is more experienced than me," Ferguson said. "What have I been doing for the last 34 years? I must have missed something or been asleep.
Ferguson has told his side to forget about their achievements of last season and get on with the job in hand and that job could be tough with the club not having signed anyone to boost their ranks, yet.
Although ManU is suffering from the injury of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney is also struggling for full fitness, they are in full confidence.
The return of club captain Gary Neville to full fitness after a year out is a boost but defender Nemanja Vidic admitted that it will be a tough season and that Chelsea are the team to watch for.
Arsenal will have to manage with the loss of Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb as they too look to wrest the title from United.
Manager Arsene Wenger has however, signed talented Welsh teenager Aaron Ramsey France midfielder Samir Nasri and Amaury Bischoff, considered one of the biggest Portuguese talents.
With Cesc Fabregas leading the midfield and Emmanuel Adebayor in the front, with Theo Walcott to make it happen.
The same goes for Liverpool, who have spent big on Tottenham striker Robbie Keane, who will make a formidable partnership alongside Fernando Torres, arguably the player of last season.
With Andrea Dossena coming in at full-back and Xabi Alonso looking set to stay after the protracted transfer of Gareth Barry from Aston Villa has so far not yielded fruit, Rafael Benitez's side also ready for the run.
"They (Chelsea and Manchester United) can spend 20 million pounds on players just for the bench, but my belief is unshakable that we can compete with them," Benitez said.
Behind the big four, Tottenham Hotspur look the side most likely to break in, having spent a fortune in the summer, led by the signing of Luka Modric, the Croatia playmaker, who will add class to their midfield.
Portsmouth, pushing for a place in Europe again, look strong after the signing of Peter Crouch, while Aston Villa are improving and it will be interesting to see what Mark Hughes does as manager of Manchester City after moving from Blackburn Rovers.
At the bottom, it looks like being a tough season for the promoted sides, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Stoke City, whose manager Tony Pulis admitted his club faced a huge challenge to maintain their top-flight status.