Sunderland boss Roy Keane has tipped Chelsea to deny his former club, Manchester United, from claiming their third straight Premier League crown.
Most pundits are predicting another two-horse for the title this season, despite Liverpool's strong presence in the transfer market and the fact Arsenal led for much of the previous campaign after being written off this time last year.
The arrival of Luiz Felipe Scolari is almost certain to improve a Blues outfit that came agonisingly close to claiming a treble of trophies under the much-maligned Avram Grant, while United are riding high as champions of England and Europe.
But Keane has gone against his heart and tipped the Londoners to triumph, pointing to the fact they will not lose the likes of Didier Drogba and Michael Essien to international duty this time around.
"For me, it's Chelsea this year," the Irishman said. "I always felt that United would do it last year but I fancy Chelsea this time.
"There's no African Cup of Nations in January, they've got a new manager, they've bought one or two players and, for all the ups and downs, last year they still nearly nicked it."
However, the Red Devils may strengthen yet before the transfer window's close, as Tottenham striker Dimitar Berbatov is reportedly on the verge of making the switch to Old Trafford.
And while Keane confessed the Bulgarian's arrival would greatly improve United's chances, he still believes Scolari's men will come up trumps.
"If United get a top striker in then they've got a chance," he added. "But my gut feeling this year would still be Chelsea."