Aston Villa kick off their Premiership campaign at Tottenham on Saturday, hoping to continue the good form that has seen the club progress to the final of the Intertoto Cup.
John Gregory's team have been in competitive action for over a month already and this sharpness could be a key factor in this White Hart Lane battle.
Certain members of Gregory's family are Spurs season ticket holders and the Villa supremo may prove to be unpopular in his own clan, if his team can take all three points from this opening day clash.
Gregory has recently boosted his squad with the purchase of Croatian international striker Bosko Balaban from Dinamo Zagreb and the exciting forward will hope to improve upon the team's 39% shooting accuracy - which in 2000-01 was the worst tally in the Premiership.
Record signing Juan Pablo Angel, who netted just once following his £9.5 million move in December, has showed signs of improving and has looked sharp in pre-season, scoring twice in the recent friendly with Racing Santader.
Angel might fancy his chances on Saturday, as he will be up against a Spurs defence without the influential presence of former skipper Sol Campbell, following his infamous defection.
Tottenham goalkeeper Neil Sullivan made 142 saves in the Premiership last season - more than any other goalkeeper in the top flight - and the Scottish international will be hoping his defence can offer him better cover despite Campbell's departure.
New arrival Goran Bunjevcevic is an incredibly cultured central defender who is capable of bringing the ball out of defence with his sweet range of passing, but manger Glenn Hoddle has clearly stated his ambition of bringing in a more imposing player and has already made enquires about Dean Richards at former club Southampton.
Nevertheless Hoddle has plenty of youthful talent at the club, and versatile performers Ledley King and Gary Doherty are more than capable of lining up alongside Chris Perry and Bunjevcevic in the Spurs rearguard. Despite speculation about his future Perry remains a key figure in the squad and his 89 successful tackles last season was by far the highest tally at White Hart Lane and the sixth-most in the Premiership.
Turkish defender Alpay was two challenges behind Perry's total and his new-look partnership with Swedish defender Olof Mellberg, playing in front of legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, gives Villa a more imposing look this season.