Roberto Mancini's managerial acumen will be put under the spotlight when Manchester City travel to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, as the Italian attempts to find a winning formula from the start of the new season.
Spurs pipped City to fourth spot, and a place in the lucrative Champions League last term. But Mancini has since enjoyed a lavish pre-season spending spree, splashing out more than 80 million pounds on new signings to leave his multi-talented, multi-national squad the envy of much of the League.
The most notable signings have been World Cup winner David Silva, Yaya Toure from Barcelona and German defender Jerome Boateng. Meanwhile, England winger James Milner is expected to complete a 26 million pound switch from Aston Villa to bolster Mancini's ranks still further.
But for the time being the Italian must focus on his starting line-up for the trip to White Hart Lane to face a Spurs side who will be challenging City for Champions League qualification and honours this season.
There remain doubts as to who will be City's first choice goalkeeper, with both Shay Given and England's Joe Hart battling to be the No.1. Whoever is left out is sure to make their feelings clear, setting the tone for what could be a problematic season for Mancini. Toure, Silva and Boateng are sure to make their debuts, while Carlos Tevez is expected to lead the attack.
For Micah Richards, Patrick Vieira, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Craig Bellamy, Robinho and Emmanuel Adebayor the chances of fitting into Mancini's puzzle are far less certain.
Little wonder then that Mancini is playing for time, saying: “We couldn't have all the players together until very recently.
“Many played in the World Cup, so some only started pre-season a week ago.
“Now many have been away again for international matches, and it's a big problem. I don't think I'll have all the players at 100 per cent for another 20 days, but this is a problem for every squad with good players like we have.”