Abu Dhabi: Welcome back, Premier League, how we’ve missed you.
After a largely underwhelming European Championship, save for the heroics of Wales and Iceland, it is high time you injected your customary drama and excitement into our lives once again.
But how can the new season, which starts on Saturday, possibly emulate one of the most momentous campaigns in English football history following Leicester City’s miraculous title triumph?
The narrative will surely alter dramatically in 2016/17. The top flight’s big boys, chastened by having their noses bloodied by an audacious upstart, have unleashed their riches on some of the world game’s greatest talents in a bid to restore the status quo.
But while the Premier League has always been a magnet for football superstars, it has never been graced by as many managerial behemoths.
The most tantalising tactical duel – and one which is likely to decide the outcome of the title race – will almost certainly occur in Manchester.
Enter Jose Mourinho in the red corner of United facing City’s new blue, Pep Guardiola, to add lustre and intrigue to the world’s most riveting league.
Talk about a heavyweight clash, embellished by the pair’s lavish spending on the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at United and City new boys John Stones and Leroy Sane.
Their rivalry is an incendiary one, with Mourinho fuelled by acrid hostility at being overlooked for the Barcelona job by the club legend Guardiola in 2008.
Cue two years of verbal jousting between the pair when Mourinho took over the Catalans’ fierce rivals Real Madrid in 2010.
For these are two intensely driven men, but with contrasting personalities and ideologies.
While Mourinho is the ruthless pragmatist with the penchant for controversy, Guardiola is the suave and cerebral doyen of beautiful football.
But while Guardiola invariably held the upper hand in the pair’s meetings in Spain – including a 5-0 demolition of Real in Mourinho’s first season in charge – he will do well to master a man so well schooled in English football’s idiosyncrasies.
This will be Mourinho’s sixth season in England, the Portuguese having claimed three titles. As such, he is well accustomed to the unparalleled competition of the league, where lesser lights are eminently capable of upsetting the odds as Leicester have so thrillingly proved.
He also knows all about the unremitting slog of the Christmas and New Year period.
Meanwhile, can Guardiola replicate the success he enjoyed with overwhelmingly dominant Barcelona and Bayern Munich without a festive breather and facing tests on a weekly basis?
Will his possession obsession and relentless pressing be effective on a boggy pitch and in the freezing cold away to Hull in February?
It will be fascinating to see how one of the game’s greatest thinkers negotiates such singular hurdles.
Claudio Ranieri also faces a considerable task to ensure Leicester are not one-season wonders, with keeping the talismanic Riyad Mahrez at the club crucial to this aim.
Ranieri’s acquisition of the Nigeria forward, Ahmad Musa, is particularly exciting, however, with his searing pace matching Jamie Vardy’s attacking alacrity.
But Ranieri will have to return to his ‘Tinkerman’ philosophy of old if Leicester are to prosper again, given the Foxes’ added burden of Champions League involvement.
Ranieri’s fellow Italian, Antonio Conte, will also provide compelling viewing in his first season at Chelsea, not least for his touchline histrionics.
Conte undoubtedly boasts the charisma and tactical acumen to revive the fortunes of the likes of Eden Hazard and restore the Blues’ defensive solidity after a miserable 2015-16 campaign.
As he did at Euro 2016, when his unfancied Italy side overcame Belgium and Spain en route to the quarter-finals, Conte will relish trying to outwit the more feted duo of Mourinho and Guardiola.
And with Conte hoping to pair Romelu Lukaku in attack with his prodigious Belgium teammate Michy Batshuayi following the arrival of the midfield dynamo N’Golo Kante, who is to say he won’t succeed?
Meanwhile, after nearly a season under his belt at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp must be approaching the new campaign with supreme optimism.
The Reds carried out his high-energy, counter-attacking gameplan to a tee in last Saturday’s stunning evisceration of Barcelona, with new forward Sadio Mane irrepressible in the 4-0 friendly thrashing.
If Klopp can address Liverpool’s brittle rearguard and inconsistency, a title challenge to match the Luis Suarez-inspired exhilaration of three seasons ago is not beyond his enterprising side.
Slipping under the radar somewhat is Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, who has quietly and effectively bolstered his squad with the prolific Dutch striker Vincent Janssen and Southampton’s powerhouse midfielder Victor Wanyama.
More evolution than revolution from the under-stated but canny Argentine, then, but Spurs are unlikely to replicate last season’s top-four finish unless they add more experience to a largely callow squad.
Champions League football will also be an added distraction for Pochettino’s emerging side.
Also in north London, a familiar summer of discontent has unfolded for Arsenal fans under their veteran manager, Arsene Wenger.
The 66-year-old Frenchman has again stubbornly refused to match his rivals’ big-spending (apart from midfielder Granit Xhaka’s arrival for £33 million), with a leading striker and centre-back urgent priorities if the Gunners are to challenge City and United’s expected duopoly.
Wenger, who will celebrate a remarkable 20 years in charge of the Londoners in October, said in a recent interview he was “scared” at the prospect of looming retirement.
Maybe it is time, then, for a fearful and frustrated Wenger to exit stage left and let his fellow Premier League ‘Supremos’ and their star performers deliver another captivating show.