NEW year, new faces and a new competition — but a familiar tale for Michael Laudrup's Swansea City.
The successes of Laudrup's maiden Liberty campaign will be difficult to match second time around, but the new season began with another high for the Swansea manager.
Malmo were beaten 4-0, a scoreline which means things will have to go horribly wrong in next week's Europa League third qualifying round second leg in Scandinavia if Swansea are to fall at their first hurdle.
To add to Laudrup's satisfaction, new boy Wilfried Bony's time in Wales began with a bang, the Ivory Coast international scoring two goals to add to Michu's opener.
Another summer signing, Alejandro Pozuelo, came off the bench to put a heavy coat of gloss on the victory near the end.
The night could not have gone much better for the Dane as he faced the Swedes.
Up in the stands, meanwhile, David Moyes must have been impressed.
Manchester United are up next in SA1, by which time Laudrup's team will surely be looking forward to the next stage of the Europa League.
The last time Swansea were in Europe, they were also in the Third Division.
Emmanuel Petit and George Weah were in the opposition ranks, while Frank Burrows's Swansea team included the likes of Mark Harris, Simon Davey and Russell Coughlin.
Times have changed.
Swansea last night gave a debut to their £12 million centre-forward, Bony, while £5 million midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was also in for his competitive bow.
The third full debutant in home ranks was Jordi Amat, a £2.5 million recruit from Espanyol, who started in central defence even though Chico Flores was fit enough for the bench.
Pablo Hernandez missed out with a groin injury, meaning Nathan Dyer started on the right flank as Swansea set about building a first leg lead in their first European tie in 22 years.
Malmo's manager, Rikard Norling, claimed in the build-up that Swansea were the strong favourites in this contest — and the early signs were that he had called it right.
Laudrup's men bossed the ball from the outset, and played with such a frantic tempo in the first quarter that the visitors barely got a touch of the ball.
To their credit, however, Malmo found a way to frustrate Swansea, and gradually took the momentum out of the home side's early surge.
It might have been a different story had Amat's near-post header, from Shelvey's corner, not been headed out from under the bar by Filip Helander.
But for all their control of the ball, Swansea found it hard to create genuine chances for much of the first half.
Shelvey, who was prominent again in central midfield, cracked the first shot of the night wide of the target from long range.
The first decent opportunity came on the half hour, when Ashley Williams lifted the ball over the top for Dyer to chase.
The wideman did superbly, taking a touch and then smashing a left-foot shot which was expertly saved by Johan Dahlin, one of seven full internationals in the Malmo line-up.
The Swedes' threat was minimal — they were more concerned with protecting than advancing — though the pacy Tokelo Rantie gave Swansea a fright when he tricked his way beyond Amat.
Rantie teed up Jiloan Hamad, but the Malmo captain shot horribly wide from the edge of the D.
Then came the goal Swansea deserved — and it was thanks in no small part to a defensive error.
Wayne Routledge's pass ought to have been cut out, but Helander lost his footing and Michu made him pay.
Last season's leading scorer opened his account in the 37th minute of 2013-14, rolling the ball beyond Dahlin and into the net via the base of the far post.
Michu screamed at the home crowd as they roared their approval.
Swansea were up and running.
Malmo had not conceded a goal in their four previous ties in this run, but there was no obvious response to the setback from Norling's team.
Swansea continued to dictate the flow of the contest — and their second goal arrived ten minutes into the second half.
Ben Davies was heavily involved, leading a counter from his own half and feeding Shelvey.
He worked the ball back to Davies, who rolled Routledge in down the left flank.
His chipped cross was perfect for Bony, who hung in the air before steering a header beyond Dahlin and into the corner of the net.
Now Malmo were wobbling — and Swansea struck another blow within four minutes.
First Michu headed over from another sweet Routledge centre, but within seconds Laudrup's men were pouring forward again after Davies won possession on halfway.
Angel Rangel picked out Michu in the inside right channel, and he tried a repeat of his first-half finish.
This time the ball came back off the far post, but Bony was on hand to tap home his second Swansea goal.
Laudrup will hope that is not the last time Michu and Bony combine in the penalty area this season.
It was the last time here, for Michu made way for Jonathan de Guzman with a quarter of the contest remaining.
Pozuelo's 20-yard shot flew narrowly wide, then Shelvey took aim next from distance but Dahlin gathered at the second attempt.
The fourth goal which surely puts this tie to bed arrived four minutes from the end — and it was beautifully constructed.
Bony claimed the assist, cushioning de Guzman's pass to Pozuelo, who drilled an 18-yard volley beyond the helpless Dahlin.