Signings of Fabregas and Costa will see Chelsea win first title since 2009/10, says our columnist
One month after the final whistle at the iconic Maracana in Brazil to signal Germany's World Cup triumph, we're back to the small matter of the domestic football season.
Once again, millions of pounds have been spent by Premier League clubs striving for the title, but who will come out on top next May?
After a mediocre campaign by his own exalted standards, Jose Mourinho has a point to prove. And that spells danger for the rest of the EPL.
The signings of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa look particularly astute, and The Special One is no doubt still chuckling at the exorbitant fee he received for David Luiz. The Blues are the team to beat.
The FA Cup triumph in May and the signing of Alexis Sanchez have led to the Arsenal swagger of old returning.
Calum Chambers' outstanding defensive display in the Community Shield win over Manchester City at Wembley also bodes well.
3RD: MAN CITY
City's usual summer spending spree hasn't materialised after the Citizens fell foul of Uefa's Financial Fair Play laws.
The Citizens can ill-afford to start slow with matches against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in the opening month.
4TH: MAN UNITED
If Louis van Gaal can snare a top-class centre back before the end of the transfer window, then United look well-equipped to climb back into England's elite.
The welcome return of Champions League football means that Brendan Rodgers will have to rotate his players for the first time; something that could unsettle his squad and lead to the Reds missing out on the top four.
Spurs needed to strengthen at the back after conceding so many goals against the big clubs last season, and the signings of Ben Davies and Eric Dier look like decent investments.
Roberto Martinez will believe that a top-four finish is within reach, but the Toffees failed to win a game in pre-season, and matches against Arsenal and Chelsea this month could see them start on the back foot.
Despite a disappointing campaign last season, pre-season wins over Schalke and Real Sociedad, and the signings of Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong have demonstrated that the Magpies can secure a top-10 finish.
9TH: STOKE CITY
The capture of ex-Barcelona wunderkind Bojan Krkic has created a buzz in Stoke, and if he hits the ground running, then the Potters may even improve on their record 50-point haul and maintain last season's ninth-place finish.
10TH: WEST HAM
Andy Carroll's latest injury setback could be a blessing; new striker Enner Valencia bagged all three of Ecuador's World Cup goals, and he could be pivotal in a more expansive Hammers side.