What a weekend it was! The Premier League returned with a bang, providing us with everything we could have asked for… and more. There were goals aplenty, we got to see some of the new signings and, of course, VAR had some part to play, making its debut in the league over the weekend. You get the feeling that the ‘top two’ will remain the top two after their emphatic wins in the opening round, with the champions, Manchester City, winning 5-0 at West Ham, while Liverpool hammered Norwich City 4-1 at Anfield. Three of the other top six teams all won, with Frank Lampard suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in his league debut as Chelsea boss. There’s so much more to keep us entertained throughout the season and if the first weekend of Premier League football is anything to go by, we’re in for yet another joy ride!
Saturday 17 August
Arsenal got off to the perfect start in Unai Emery’s second season in charge, winning 1-0 away at Newcastle – keeping a clean sheet on the road, a feat they only managed once all of last season. Emery rang the changes which saw none of his new boys make their debuts from the start, although Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli all came on off the bench.
Burnley got off to a flyer themselves, smashing Southampton 3-0 at Turf Moor. The Clarets played on the counter-attack for most of the game, and with Arsenal expected to dominate possession, Sean Dyche’s men will fancy their chances on the break. Still, the Gunners should be too good here – take them to Score In Both Halves at even money.
Aston Villa 27/20
Aston Villa were welcomed back to the Premier League with a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where they held their own for the most part of the game, letting their early lead slip late on in the 73rd minute.
The Villans showed plenty of positive signs, especially in the final third. Bournemouth slumped to a disappointing 1-1 stalemate at home to newly-promoted Sheffield United. The Cherries were wasteful in front of goal and with Tom Heaton coming off the back of an excellent debut for Aston Villa, it could be a long afternoon for Bournemouth. Put your money on the home win here.
West Ham 19/10
Brighton and West Ham United both come off the back of massive scorelines from the opening weekend of Premier League football. For Brighton, it was positives all round, smashing Watford 3-0 away from home, controlling the tempo of the match without any real threat from the Hornets.
For West Ham, it was quite the opposite. The Hammers are rock bottom in the league after being humbled 5-0 by Manchester City on their own turf. We could see a slight difference in personnel from both sides this Saturday, nevertheless, a high-scoring matchup is still expected. Back Over 2.5 Goals in the game here at even money.
Plenty of eyes were, and will continue to be, on Everton this season. Outside the so-called big six, many pundits and fans believe that the Toffees could crack the nod ahead of one of the top six clubs in the league and compete for a spot in Europe. Marco Silva’s men caused plenty of problems in the first half over the weekend and were unfortunate to have Morgan Schneiderlin sent off in the latter stages of the tie to end the game goalless against Crystal Palace.
Watford were battered and bruised in their league opener, suffering a demoralising 3-0 home defeat to Brighton. Silva will fancy getting the job done over his former employers, while Richarlison is another player looking to make his mark once again against the Hornets. At 7/10, I’d confidently tip Everton to claim their first win of the season.
Norwich got a true test of top-flight football when they were hammered 4-1 at Liverpool in last Friday’s league opener. Still, the Canaries showed plenty of positive signs and perhaps the scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of how the game actually panned out. Away at arguably the toughest ground in world football, Norwich created so many chances and enjoyed plenty of spells with the ball in Liverpool’s half.
This weekend at home to Newcastle, they will come good again. Steve Bruce’s managerial debut for Newcastle in the league ended in defeat as his side lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal. They created very little chances in the game, while their defence didn’t seem as rock-solid as it was last campaign. For an extra bit of value, back Norwich on the (-1) Handicap here at 29/10.
Fireworks are always expected when Southampton welcome Liverpool to St. Mary’s Stadium, with the Saints being known by many as the Reds’ feeder club, so to speak. They’ve even got Jurgen Klopp 2.0 in Ralph Hasenhuttl, while the players know that big performances in Southampton colours often earns them a move to Liverpool. Having said all of that, the Saints produced anything but a massive performance in their league opener, suffering a heart-sore 3-0 defeat at Burnley.
Liverpool, on the other hand, picked up where they left off last season, beating newcomers, Norwich, 4-1 at Anfield. The huge downside in that result was the loss of Alisson Becker, who looks set for a lengthy spell out on the sidelines after picking up a calf injury. Without their star goalkeeper, perhaps Southampton could just find the back of the net, while Virgil Van Dijk will look to shore things up in defence and keep a clean sheet against his former side. I’d recommend taking Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score at 18/10.
Manchester City 7/20
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Sunday 18 August
Sheffield United 31/20
Crystal Palace 2/1
Sheffield United claimed their first point of the season at Bournemouth, drawing 1-1 at the Vitality Stadium, and boy did that goal mean something to the Blades. It certainly gave the crowd a lift and will give Chris Wilder’s team some much-needed confidence ahead of their first game at Bramall Lane. The main headlines building up to the season for Crystal Palace was: can they keep Wilfried Zaha? Well, they did, and he made his mark coming off the bench over the weekend, creating plenty of chances for the Eagles. This one is not going to be entertaining for the neutrals, but being the only game at 3pm on Sunday, I urge Premier League lovers to sit back and watch this battle between the minnows, while also making some money off of it by taking Under 2.5 Goals at 11/20.
Leicester City 37/10
Chelsea close the weekend off once again, this time, in a home game at Stamford Bridge against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City. It was a nightmare start for Frank Lampard’s managerial career at Chelsea, losing 4-0 to bitter rivals, Manchester United. Though, the Blues did look sharp in attack and threw plenty of bodies forward, perhaps being too naïve at times. At home, going full throttle could work in their favour, while former Leicester boy, N’Golo Kante, should come back in his preferred deeper role to stop the counter attacks that the Foxes will pose. Rodgers’ men were held to a goalless draw in their opener, and with both teams yet to find the back of the net this campaign, this Sunday could be the day we see goals aplenty. Back a Chelsea Win & Both Teams to Score at 26/10!
Monday 19 August
Manchester United 12/10
Wolves and Manchester United lock horns in the Premier League’s first Monday night game of the season. Wolves were denied all three points at Leicester City last weekend, with VAR coming into play in reversing the decision to allow their goal scored. On the other hand, Manchester United were rampant against fellow top four rivals, Chelsea, but this Monday, the Red Devils need to expect a different game on the whole.
Wolves will sit back and be wary of the threat that United pose on the counter-attack, while Manchester United will look out for the same thing in their opposition. A true clash of tactics and prowess. The hosts often do well against the big guns, and will look to break down the reinforced United backline, which boast Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. Under 2.5 Goals is the best bet for me here at 15/20.
TREBLE @ 12/1
Arsenal Score Both Halves 1/1
Everton Win 7/10
Norwich (-1) Handicap 29/10
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