Having managed to turn what looked like a very disappointing season into a huge success by winning Champions League and FA Cup trophies, Chelsea enter the new campaign high on confidence.
Summer signings Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin are expected to add a new quality to the side and boss Roberto Di Matteo has every reason to hope for a successful season.
After Didier Drogba left for China, it will be on Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge to prove they can score goals on regular basis, and the two players are 3.40 (12/5) and 4.00 (3/1) respectively to open their scoring accounts at Villa Park.
The Blues have not been too impressive in pre-season, proving that they will need some time to gel, but they are, nonetheless, 2.20 (6/5) with Ladbrokes to win the first trophy of the season.
New signing Marko Marin is sidelined with a hamstring strain, while Oscar is set to take part in the Men’s Football Tournament final at the 2012 Olympics.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Cech – Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole – Lampard, Mikel, Meireles – Ramires, Torres, Hazard.
Manchester City proved their worth by winning one of the most exciting title races in Premier League history, with two injury-time goals against QPR something that the fans will never forget.
Following the league success, the Citizens were expected to further reinforce the squad in the summer, but they have been surprisingly inactive in the transfer market so far.
With Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor back to the club and Edin Dzeko still at Etihad, Roberto Mancini will have his work cut out for him with no less than six world-class strikers on club’s payroll.
This could come in handy in the match against very good Chelsea side, and that is one of the reasons why the Citizens are 2.30 (13/10) favourites with BetVictor to win the clash in regular time.
Gareth Barry and Micah Richards miss out through injury, but Vincent Kompany should be fit to play. Mario Balotelli and David Silva lack match fitness after being given extra time to rest following their participation at the Euro 2012.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart – Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov – Y. Toure, De Jong – A. Johnson, Tevez, Nasri – Aguero.