The highly-anticipated Premier League finally returns to our screens this week with some exciting opening day fixtures to look forward to and some enticing odds on offer.
Friday 9 August
The opening match of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign takes place on Friday with Liverpool hosting newly promoted Norwich City. It will certainly be a baptism by fire for the Canaries, who are back in the big time after four seasons spent down in England’s second-tier. Jurgen Klopp’s side didn’t have the greatest pre-season, but playing at their fortress Anfield where they were unbeaten last season (17 wins from 19 games) will have them fired up. With the quality at Klopp’s disposal and the Anfield crowd behind them, Liverpool should come out on top. That said, Daniel Farke’s men thrive on attacking football – they scored a staggering 93 league goals last season as they marched to the Championship title. I suggest taking Liverpool to win and Both Teams to Score at 31/20.
Saturday 10 August
West Ham 19/2
Man City 1/4
Premier League champions and winners of the 2019 Community Shield, Manchester City, travel to London in Saturday’s early kick off to face West Ham and their former boss, Manuel Pellegrini. These sides met in a pre-season friendly in the Premier League Asia Trophy last month with City running out comfortable 4-1 winners. Pellegrini will be hoping his side are a lot stronger after bringing in highly-rated French striker Sebastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt as well as Spanish attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals from Villarreal. Pep Guardiola’s side are aiming for a seventh straight league win over the Hammers. In all three of their visits to the London Stadium, the Citizens have scored 12 goals – four in each match. The away win is a banker, but for more value, back Man City to Win by Three Or More Goals at 33/20.
Sheffield United 29/10
Bournemouth welcome newly promoted Sheffield United to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. The last time these sides met was in 2013 when both teams were in League One, but the Blades are now back in the top tier after a 12-year absence. The Cherries somewhat underachieved in finishing 14th last season with inconsistency their main issue. They still, however, showed what they’re capable of with impressive wins over Chelsea and Tottenham at home. Chris Wilder’s men secured promotion from the Championship last season, just two years after running away with the League One title, but enter this season as rank outsiders. Wilder’s squad looks to be among the weakest in the Premier League and should make easy pickings for Eddie Howe’s men. Back the home win.
Burnley and Southampton go head-to-head at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon. The two clubs finished last season separated in the table by just one point as Burnley finished 15th and Southampton finished in 16th place. The first aim of both sides going into the campaign will be to stay in the division and a win in this contest will give either side a huge amount of confidence as well as three vital points. I’m expecting a difficult game for both teams as there will be little to separate the two teams. They’ve cancelled each other out in each of their last three meetings. Follow the trend and back the draw at 9/4.
Crystal Palace 2/1
Everton travel to South London on Saturday to take on Crystal Palace. The Toffees will be hoping to get off to a winning start as they look to challenge the top six this term. Idrissa Gueye and Kurt Zouma are no longer on Everton’s books, but Marco Silva has made some top additions to a squad still stacked with quality, bringing in young Italian striker Moise Kean from Juventus, Fabian Delph from Man City, Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz, as well as completing a permanent move for Andre Gomes. Palace, on the other hand, look much weaker going into the season as they’ve lost Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man United, Michy Batshuayi has gone back to Chelsea and at the time or writing, Wilfried Zaha’s future remains a mystery – Everton really want him. There’s great value on the away win, get on.
Watford will look to kick-off the new campaign in winning fashion when they entertain Brighton on Saturday. These sides also faced each other in the opening game of last season, with the Hornets running out 2-0 winners. Fresh from their highest league finish (11th) in 24 years and just their second-ever FA Cup final, there’s a feel-good factor around Vicarage Road heading into the new campaign. No longer are they perennial candidates for relegation.
With Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue wearing the shirt, Watford boast the most talented squad they’ve ever had in the Premier League era. Brighton, on the other hand, found it really difficult last season, finishing one place above the bottom three. The appointment of Graham Potter has injected new life into the club, but the Seagulls still have one of the weakest sides in the league. The Hornets are confidently tipped at 9/10.
Aston Villa 8/1
The final match on Saturday sees Mauricio Pochettino’s team welcome newly promoted Aston Villa to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs will go into the game full of confidence having faced some of Europe’s biggest clubs in pre-season as they got their hands on the Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena. A good start for Spurs is imperative given that they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Man City next week. Villa are back in the big time under Dean Smith after a three-year absence and may not be quite ready to tackle one of the elite-level teams at this stage. I’m expecting a comfortable win for Spurs – include them in all your multiples.
Sunday 11 August
Wolves take on the Foxes at the King Power Stadium on Sunday in what looks an enthralling encounter. These sides played out one of the most entertaining matches in the Premier League last season as Diogo Jota completed a hat-trick in stoppage time to earn Wolves an amazing 4-3 win over Leicester at the Molineux in January. Brendan Rodgers’ side have been weakened by the sale of England defender Harry Maguire to Man United, while Nuno Espirito Santo has bolstered his attack by adding Patrick Cutrone to an already-strong forward pairing of Jota and Raul Jimenez.
Wolves, who finished an electric seventh place last season and reached the FA Cup semi-finals, will look to build on an excellent first campaign back in the Premier League, which saw them claim league wins over Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man United. Nuno’s side should have a fitness edge following their Asia Trophy triumph and Europa League exploits. Back them to Win & Both Teams to Score at 57/10.
Arsenal will look to start the season on a high and collect their first three points when they travel to Newcastle on Sunday. The Gunners will be expected to win this game comfortably. Unai Emery has bolstered his attack by bringing in Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, while Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe has arrived from Lille for a club-record £72m. Surprisingly, their defensive problems haven’t been solved, which is a worry as they conceded more league goals than Newcastle and Leicester last season (51). But it seems Emery is banking on out-gunning opponents this season. It doesn’t look good for the Magpies. Everything points toward a season of struggle, from their managerial downgrade, releasing Rafa Benitez and appointing Steve Bruce, as well losing two key players in Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez. The Gunners look a sure bet at 15/20.
Manchester United 23/20
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QUAD @ 9/1
Everton Win 29/20
Watford Win 9/10
Arsenal Win 15/20
Tottenham Win 3/10
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