Once routinely considered a meeting of mid-table regulars, Everton and Aston Villa's sizeable summer outlays in the transfer market reflect two clubs with designs on making an impact at opposite ends of the table.
Everton expect a serious tilt at the top six and even a shot at the Champions League places should any of the established guard frequently falter, while Villa are hoping to surpass the bottom six during the process of successfully avoiding relegation.
Despite the contrasting form and realistic ambitions of these teams, new arrivals Sheffield United and Norwich City's home wins over established Premier League sides last weekend reflected the ability of the promoted crop to pick up results in the embryonic stages of the season.
Still awaiting their initial point of the campaign, Villa have done enough to suggest a precious first positive result is not far from their clutches.
As opening day defeats go, holding the lead for more than an hour at Tottenham Hotspur represented an impressive - if unrewarded - start to life back in the big time.
Dangerous midfielder John McGinn's ninth-minute strike silenced the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before Tanguy Ndombele, Spurs' major summer signing, forced a late equaliser and Harry Kane scored twice in the final five minutes.
Villa will need to make a better start to their second home match of the season than they did during a dismal opening to Saturday's visit from Bournemouth.
That disconcerting start at Villa Park gave way to shoots of promise as the game developed, culminating in late hope after Douglas Luiz made up for a poor first-half display to score 20 minutes from time.
Luiz became Villa's 10th new signing when he joined from Manchester City last month, so Dean Smith's squad can be forgiven for taking a little time to find their feet among elite company.
They had the better of the hot-tempered meeting, including almost two-thirds of possession and 22 shots on goal.
As those statistics suggest, what Villa lacked was the kind of cutting edge their visitors demonstrated to go two ahead so early on.
Villa have not won a Premier League match for three-and-a-half years and have failed to win for 15 top-flight matches, losing 14 of those games.
That run includes losing seven of their last eight in the division on home turf - and Smith admits they need to be much more clinical if they are to right that record.
No shirkers themselves in terms of recent recruitment, Everton's solid start to the season has been much-needed amid high expectations.
A goalless draw at Crystal Palace and victory by the only goal of the game at home to out-of-sorts Watford are hardly spectacular results, but two clean sheets give the Toffees a base to build from.
They had Jordan Pickford to thank for keeping Palace at bay at Selhurst Park on the opening day of the season, with three attempts at goal representing a whiff of overly conservative tactics.
A strikeforce including Italy youngster Moise Kean, signed from Juventus and with the potential to become a coup should he find his best form, has yet to show true menace.
Winger Bernard provided the 10th-minute winner against the Hornets at Goodison Park and it was little surprise to hear coach Marco Silva call on the Brazilian to contribute more goals, given the form of his team's strikers in the first three hours of their season so far.
Silva knows that improved potency could prove decisive in support of a defence with a record only bettered by Man City since February.
They have conceded just five goals from open play during that period and can match a record stretching more than a century with a clean sheet at Villa Park - Everton have not started their campaign with three shutouts since the 1912-13 season.
The gap of more than three years since the last meeting between these two sides is the longest since 1967, when they went six years without facing each other.
They met every year between 1973 and Villa's limp relegation from the Premier League in 2016, although all those fixtures did little to change the complexion of a finely-balanced overall record between the two.
Everton have Villa's dismal previous season in the Premier League to credit with tipping the scales slightly in their favour in the all-time total, winning 4-0 at Goodison Park and 3-1 at Villa Park, meaning they have won 82 times against 80 victories for their opponents.
Of their 48 matches in the Premier League, Villa have 18 wins to Everton's 13.
Aston Villa form: LL
Everton form: WD
Ivory Coast forward Jonathan Kodjia, who has a goal ratio of almost one in three from nearly a century of Villa appearances, will be missing from the home attack.
An ankle injury means the Paris-born goalscorer is yet to make his Premier League bow.
Defender Kortney Hause, signed from Wolves in June, is out with a similar problem.
Another of Villa's defenders, James Chester, will not be adding to the Premier League experience he gained during his time with Hull City.
The Wales centre-back is yet to appear this season and will be missing again with a thigh injury.
Everton's largest question mark is over Fabian Delph, signed from Man City over the summer for a fee that could rise to £10m.
Delph is yet to represent the club in the current campaign, having been hampered by a groin injury.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin returns from the suspension he served following an ignominious start to the season with a red card at Palace.
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Heaton; Elmohamady, Engels, Mings, Taylor; Luiz, McGinn, Grealish; Trezeguet, El Ghazi, Wesley
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Schneiderlin, Gomes; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Kean
We say: Aston Villa 1-2 Everton
Everton's durable defence and fine form on the road should present as stern a test of Villa's resolve as any they will face outside of fixtures against the top four this term.
For the home side, performance will be as important as the outcome. This is a chance for Villa to at least prove they can compete with the pretenders, although any more early generosity or repeated wastefulness could see those comparisons with last season's hapless Fulham side louden.
Silva and the visitors know trips such as this are the kind of challenges they must consistently overcome in order to align their status with their spending. Bournemouth highlighted a level of naivety in the Villans that Everton are well-placed to exploit, but expect Villa to be determined to pounce against a backline that has occasionally been reliant on luck rather than impenetrability.