The wait is finally over! The opening weekend of the Premier League kicks off this Friday with some fantastic matches on offer. Manchester City begin their title defence with a titanic clash against Unai Emery’s Arsenal, a fresh look Chelsea are away to Huddersfield while Liverpool get things off against West Ham.
I couldn’t be more excited for this campaign to get underway, with the return of the greatest league in the world comes the return of EPL Eggheads! Here are our selections for the opening weekend.
Man Utd v Leicester
This should be a great game to kick things off. United haven’t had the greatest prep and if Mourinho’s mood was an indication of their expectation they should be in the relegation scrap come May. They have had a torrid time in the transfer window and the pressure is on. Leicester could look to have a real go at United here, but without Riyad Mahrez I don’t think they pose as much of a threat on the counter. Mourinho finds a way to win, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1-1 draw.
I’m going to be a little cagey in my selection and go: United/Draw + over 1.5 @ 9/20
Newcastle v Tottenham
Tough game for Spurs to start with, yes they’ve held on to their star men in the market but they also haven’t brought anyone in. Many of their ‘main men’ wont be fit in time to play here so I suspect the majority of their starting line-up to be second string players; and yet besides this they are still firm bookie favourites. Benitez will make Newcastle a difficult side to break down and with that in mind you could get some brilliant value about the draw. I’m going to go for both teams to score @ 8/10
Bournemouth v Cardiff
Cardiff will want to recreate what the promoted teams from last season were able to do – get off to an absolute flyer. I don’t think they do, which immediately puts the pressure on Neil Warnock’s men. I think Bournemouth, playing at home, will have too much going forward for this Cardiff side. Bournemouth win @ 17/20
Watford v Brighton
I’m a little nervous for Brighton this season. You know they are going to be thereabouts at the bottom of the league come May and so early points will be vital for the Seagulls. They need to sort out their problems in front of goal early if they are to have any hope of survival. Watford blow hot and cold so you don’t really know which Watford side will pitch up on Saturday afternoon. One thing you can be sure of is neither will want to get their seasons off with a loss and so the draw looks about right @ 21/10
Huddersfield v Chelsea
This is a tough game for Huddersfield to start off. David Wagner waved his magic wand last season to keep them up and if they are to repeat that feat this campaign a good start is vital. Chelsea’s midfield looks impeccable but I just can’t get over how tired and jaded they looked last weekend against City. They haven’t had the greatest preseason – so don’t expect them to show off a remarkable amount of confidence – and so I think this could be the surprise result.
Huddersfield avoided defeat in 11 of their 19 home games last season, they’re playing a side who don’t have the greatest form on the road (even with a new manager who himself has an uninspiring record on the road) so don’t be surprised to see them come away with something.
Huddersfield/draw @ 12/10 is my tip and value bet for the weekend!
Fulham v C Palace
It should be noted that Palace managing to keep Wilfried Zaha around is a good bit of business, the Eagles didn’t win a single game without him last season. This should be a close game but I’m backing Fulham to get off to a winning start on their return to the top flight. Their business in the transfer market was brilliant, they’ve put their money where their mouth is and looks up for the challenge.
Fulham to bag all three points @ 29/20 is my tip.
Wolves v Everton
This will likely be the most entertaining game of the weekend. Wolves have a team that will have a go at anyone, while Everton (even with Big Sam as manager) scored plenty on the road last season. I would say the pressure is on Marco Silva simply because if he loses this game there will be a couple eyebrows raised. With a combined average of 6.36 goals per game I’m backing over 2.5 goals @ 21/20
Liverpool v West Ham
I can’t see past a Liverpool win here. Klopp (in my opinion) has done brilliant business in the market, bringing Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri is a real statement. They look to be a seriously good squad, from the keeper to the striker, so I expect a tough afternoon for Manuel Pellegrini. Liverpool to win with a (-1) handicap @ 6/10 is my best bet for the weekend.
Southampton v Burnley
I’m going to back Mark Hughes and Southampton here. St. Mary’s is a tough place to go and play, Burnley are in Turkey on Thursday evening and I just don’t think they get a result here. They’ve had a fantastic season last season but I think they get off to a slow start this time around. Back Southampton @ 17/20
Arsenal v Man City
Yes I think Man City wins this game, but I don’t think it’s a walk in the park – not by any stretch of the imagination. Arsenal have a new manager in with fresh ideas, he will have a plan and test City on Sunday. But I think City have too much for them. City look outstanding once again and I back them to edge an absolute thriller.
City to win is the tip, but for the brave punter, back City to win by 1 goal @ 3/1
NEST EGG TREBLE: 15/1
Liverpool (-1) @ 6/10
Fulham @ 29/20
City by 1 @ 3/1