The 2019/20 season kicks-off with Liverpool vs Norwich on Friday night, whilst Saturday’s games include West Ham vs Manchester City, Burnley vs Southampton, and Tottenham vs Aston Villa.
Check out our stats, analysis, and free tips for the first round of Premier League matches for 2019/20.
Liverpool vs Norwich (Friday 8.00pm)
Having laid down plenty of my money on Liverpool in a variety of ante-post markets, anything but a win in their opening games at Anfield against Norwich would be a disaster. However, as Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League since 2017, it’s more likely that Norwich are going to be welcomed back to the top-flight with a baptism of fire.
Liverpool may have been quiet in the transfer market this summer but that suggests Jurgen Klopp is happy with a squad that won last year’s Champions League and accrued the third highest Premier League points total ever, despite losing out on their first Premier League title by a point to Manchester City. Indeed, they’re probably only a world-class creative midfielder away from being the best club side in Europe.
That means they should be too good for a Norwich team that has done little to strengthen the squad that won last year’s Championship. Norwich manager Daniel Farke is respected for what he’s done for the Canaries, but I doubt any of the Norwich players would find a place in the Liverpool squad.
The problem is Liverpool are a best-priced 2/13 to win, but the 3/4 that Liverpool win to nil looks fair value. However, with Liverpool fancied to make an early statement that puts fear in the heart of the rest of the Premier League, correct score predictions of 4-0 and 5-0 could be the way to go.
West Ham vs Man City (Saturday 12.30pm)
Man City will know what their main title dangers Liverpool have done to Norwich before they take on The Hammers, and they’ll want to strike back immediately by taking three points. However, City may find it harder to win this fixture than their last two away games against West Ham, which they won 4-0 and 4-1.
West Ham improved throughout last season, eventually clinching a top-half finish with an away win against Watford in the final game of the season, after beating Southampton and Tottenham in their previous two games.
Former Manchester City manager, now West Ham manager, Manuel Pellegrino is no mug either and he looks sure to keep West Ham moving forward this season, providing new striker Sebastian Haller proves an ideal replacement for Marko Arnautovic. The arrival of Roberto, Fornais, and Cardoso should also help solidify West Ham’s top-half challenge.
Despite West Ham being on an upward curve, City are still fancied to claim the spoils, but it may be a close result – with 2-1 the pick.
Burnley vs Southampton (Saturday 3.00)
Burnley finished just a point and a place above Southampton in the Premier League last season, with Burnley finishing 15th and Southampton 16th, suggesting their very close in terms of quality. That’s also backed up by the last three games between the two teams being draws.
There’s an argument that Southampton will finish higher this season, with the points per game ratio they achieved after the arrival of manager Ralph Hassenhutl last year suggesting they may be capable of achieving 50 points this season. However, it’s also worth remembering that Burnley finished seventh the season before and, with no European aspirations to distract them, they’re also fancied to finish higher than they did last season.
Both teams have also been quiet in the summer transfer market, and their similarities suggest that the draw is once again the value bet.
Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday 5.30)
It’s easy to see Tottenham being the third leg of a popular short-priced treble this weekend with Liverpool and Man City, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against a newly promoted Aston Villa side that has been extremely busy in the transfer market. However, it’s hard to imagine that even £20 million signing Tyrone Mings would earn a place in the Tottenham side.
Admittedly, Tottenham finished last season with a whimper as they prepared for a Champions League final with Harry Kane side-lined, but it will still be a shock if they don’t make start with a win for the third season in a row.
As Harry Kane is a habitually slow starter in the Premier League, it could be worth backing last season’s Champions League semi-final hero Lucas Moura to do the damage, as he’s scored in Tottenham’s last three pre-season matches.