Manager: Tony Pulis.
2010-11 season: It was another impressive season of Premier League consolidation from the Potters and they only finished as low as 13th after slipping down from ninth on the final day. A successful run to the FA Cup final was halted by Manchester City as Stoke were denied an unlikely piece of silverware but it was an excellent campaign for Pulis and his men.
Strengths: There are no surprises here. Pulis has assembled a team of giants, who dominate at set-pieces at either end of the pitch and relish the chance to challenge for a Rory Delap long throw. Physically they have few rivals but Pulis is incrementally introducing more flair, with wingers Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Etherington taking starring roles. At home they are formidable.
Weaknesses: Stoke are very one-dimensional and struggle away from the Britannia Stadium. They also lack a genuine striker who can score 15 goals a season, while Pulis has tried and failed to accommodate more refined players of the type of Tuncay and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
Key man: Robert Huth. No one embodies Stoke's approach quite like the big German. Whether wiping out a striker when clearing the ball in his own box, or barging aside his marker in an attempt to get on the end of a corner, Huth sets the tone for the rest of his team-mates.
Ins: Jonathan Woodgate (free); Matthew Upson (West Ham, free).
Outs: Abdoulaye Faye (released); Eidur Gudjohnsen (released); Ibrahima Sonko (released); Andrew Davies (Crystal Palace, loan).
Manager: Alan Pardew.
2010-11 season: Traumatic, but with signs of real recovery. Newcastle, and owner Mike Ashley, were assailed from all sides in December when they ruthlessly dismissed the popular Chris Hughton, who had overseen a 5-1 win over Sunderland despite the huge loss earlier in the season of Hatem Ben Arfa. The appointment of Pardew on a five-and-a-half year contract was also met with raised eyebrows but he steered the club to a decent 12th place, and a 4-4 draw with Arsenal, even if being overtaken by Sunderland on the final day was painful.
Strengths: The Magpies have enjoyed a productive summer in terms of incoming signings with Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Sylvain Marveaux looking like decent additions. If the club can retain Cheick Tiote and Jose Enrique they should enjoy a good campaign.
Weaknesses: Goals. Andy Carroll is yet to be sufficiently replaced in attack, though Ba is a step in the right direction, and the decision to sell the inspirational Kevin Nolan to West Ham deprives the club of a real threat in midfield. As ever with Newcastle, the current regime's ability to attract negative PR remains a problem, as does Joey Barton's Twitter activity that has seen him transfer listed.
Key man: Demba Ba. Replacing Carroll, a player who commanded £35 million after his performances on Tyneside, is no easy feat but the striker demonstrated at West Ham last season that he is capable of leading the line. Ba must provide a steady stream of goals and use his big frame to hold the ball up and play in team-mates.
Ins: Yohan Cabaye (Lille, undisclosed); Demba Ba (West Ham, free); Sylvain Marveaux (Rennes, free); Mehdi Abeid (Lens, undisclosed); Gabriel Obertan (Manchester United, undisclosed).
Outs: Kevin Nolan (West Ham, undisclosed); Sol Campbell (released); Shefki Kuqi (released); Patrick McLaughlin (released); Ben Tozer (released); Kazenga LuaLua (Brighton, loan).
Manager: Roy Hodgson.
2010-11 season: Roberto Di Matteo had the Baggies fourth after nine games, but a worrying slump in form saw the club plummet down the table and in February the board sacked the Italian, replacing him with Roy Hodgson. The former Liverpool boss orchestrated an immediate turnaround when going seven games unbeaten and the club finished an impressive 11th place as a result.
Strengths: West Brom have a nice balance of flair and steel in their midfield. They also have a striker in Peter Odemwingie who is coveted by rival clubs after scoring 15 goals in his first season in England. Hodgson has his side zealously well-drilled and each player has a well-defined role.
Weaknesses: The Baggies are flaky in defence. They conceded 71 goals last season - a figure exceeded only by relegated Blackpool (78) - though their focus on attack has been reined in since the arrival of Hodgson to replace Di Matteo.
Key man: Chris Brunt. The Northern Ireland international possesses a glorious left foot and is equally dangerous whether utilised on the left wing or cutting in from the right. He scored four goals and claimed nine assists for West Brom last season and is a real threat when delivering set-pieces or crosses.
Ins: Zoltan Gera (Fulham, free); Billy Jones (Preston, free); Gareth McAuley (Ipswich, free); Ben Foster (Birmingham City, season-long loan); Marton Fulop (Ipswich, free).
Outs: Giles Barnes (released), Abdoulaye Meite (Dijon, free), Gianni Zuiverloon (Mallorca, free), Borja Valero (Villarreal, loan deal made permanent), Scott Carson (Bursaspor, undisclosed), Ryan Allsopp (Millwall, undisclosed), Boaz Myhill (Birmingham, loan); Chris Wood (Birmingham, loan).
Manager: Alex McLeish.
2010-11 season: Traumatic. Martin O'Neill quit just days before the start of the new season and when he was replaced by Gerard Houllier, the Frenchman rapidly alienated supporters as the club became engaged in a relegation battle. He was hospitalised in April with a heart problem and Villa eventually turned to relegated local rivals Birmingham for his replacement - enraging supporters again.
Strengths: Darren Bent is a constant source of goals, while Villa have a strong crop of young players battling for contention in the first-team. Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan and Ciaran Clark will all hope to build on their performances last season.
Weaknesses: Villa have suffered in the transfer market, losing key midfielders Stewart Downing and Ashley Young to Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, though the arrival of Charles N'Zogbia has compensated in this regard. McLeish also has bridges to build with Villa fans.
Key man: Darren Bent. Eyebrows were raised when Villa paid £18 million to sign the striker from Sunderland in January but he was instrumental in keeping them up, scoring nine times in 16 games. The ratio at which he continues to score goals will in all likelihood determine where the club finish in the table.
Ins: Shay Given (Manchester City, £3.5m); Charles N'Zogbia (Wigan Athletic, £9.5m).
Outs: Stewart Downing (Liverpool, undisclosed); Ashley Young (Manchester United, undisclosed); Brad Friedel (Tottenham, free); Nigel Reo-Coker (Bolton, free); John Carew (released); Moustapha Salifou (released); Robert Pires (released); Isaiah Osbourne (released); Harry Forrester (released); Arsenio Halfhuid (released); Durrell Berry (Unattached, free); Ellis Deeney (released); Calum Flanagan (released).