Stoke City finished in the top half last season on 50 points, and begin this term's campaign at home to Aston Villa.
Consolidated by the arrivals of Fulham’s Steve Sidwell, Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley and former La Masia eternal hope Bojan Krkic, the Potters will look even stronger this year.
After another struggling season, the Villans will try to give a bit of joy back to their fans. But it will be difficult on this Saturday as their key player Christian Benteke and their new man Joe Cole are both injured.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Aston Villa 1 (Benteke) Stoke 4 (Odemwingie, Crouch, N’Zonzi, Cameron), Premier League, March 2014S
Stoke 2 (Adam, Crouch) Aston Villa 1 (Kozak), Premier League, December 2013
Stoke 1 (Kightly) Aston Villa 3 (Agbonlahor, Lowton, Benteke), Premier League, April 2013
Stoke was the sixth best away team last season with 38 points, mainly thanks to its defence.
Stoke City have not beaten Villa three times in a row since the 1960s, four victories between 1964 and 1967.
Aston Villa got more yellow cards than any other clubs in Premier League last season : 78.
Stoke to win: 1.91
Aston Villa to win: 4.6
TV: Highlights, BBC 1, 10.30pm