Despite there having been the 2018 World Cup this summer, it still doesn’t seem five minutes since Manchester City won the 2017/18 Premier League Title with a record points haul of 100 points, which was fully 19 points clear of their big rivals Manchester United.
However, in the intervening period between last season and this season, there have been many changes at some of the clubs that are perceived as title challengers this season. Chelsea are now under the leadership of former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, whilst it will be interesting to see what Umai Emery can do at Arsenal after leaving PSG. Meanwhile, Liverpool have been busy in the transfer market and are fancied by many to be the main challengers to Manchester City this season.
Manchester United and Leicester have the honour of playing the first match of the new season on Friday night, whilst Saturday’s interesting matches include Newcastle vs Tottenham and Huddersfield vs Chelsea. Meanwhile, Liverpool vs West Ham and Arsenal vs Manchester City are Sunday’s highlights.
Manchester United vs Leicester (Friday 20.00)
Manchester United vs Leicester Betting: Manchester United 1/2, Draw 3/1, Leicester 8/1
Manchester United have been notably quiet in the transfer market this summer, and pundits and United fans have been speculating that United manager Mourinho’s style of play is too negative to attract big name players that could also go to clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and even United’s neighbours Manchester City. Meanwhile, the departure of Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City is surely a negative for Leicester. The two teams met three times in 2017, with Manchester United winning the first two before a late Harry Maguire goal earned Leicester a 2-2 draw in December. Quotes of around 1/2 for a United win look about right, but this could be a match for an anytime goalscorer bet. Mata has scored three-times for United in those three matches and could be a value-bet to do so again.
Newcastle vs Tottenham (Saturday 12.30)
Newcastle vs Tottenham Betting: Newcastle 3/1, Draw 5/2, Tottenham 9/8
Newcastle have made a few signings in the close season, though it’s hard to gauge how much impact they may have at St James Park. Meanwhile, Tottenham have been quietest of all the Premier League teams in the transfer market. Whether that means Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is happy with his squad, or the building of Tottenham’s new stadium has emptied Spurs’ bank balance, is open to debate. Newcastle actually beat Tottenham 5-1 at St James Park in May 2016, but Tottenham dominated both home and away last season without conceding a goal in either game. Tottenham won the away match 2-0, with Dele Alli opening the scoring in the second half. Therefore, perhaps Tottenham to win to nil may be a good bet. Alternatively, the value-bet on the half-time/full-time market could be a Draw/Tottenham.
Huddersfield vs Chelsea (Saturday 3.00)
Huddersfield vs Chelsea Betting: Huddersfield 11/2, Draw 3/1, Chelsea 8/13
Huddersfield were many punters bankers to be relegated last season and will be again this season after they finished with the second worst goal-difference last season, despite surviving the dreaded drop. However, the £17.5 Million signing of former Monaco defender Terence Kongolo may help plug the defence.
The big problem is who will score the goals for Huddersfield?
Chelsea did win this corresponding fixture 3-1 last season, but Chelsea are likely to adopt a very different style of play under new manager Sarri. The introduction of former Napoli playmaker Jorginho could gel Chelsea together, whilst the £71.6 Million signing of former Atletico Bilbao Kepa Arrizabaga should maintain Chelsea’s defensive form after the departure of Courtois. However, too many uncertainties means this has the look of a no-bet game for most punters.
Liverpool vs West Ham (Sunday 13.30)
Liverpool vs West Ham Betting: Liverpool 1/4, Draw 11/2, West Ham 13/1
Liverpool have been very busy in the transfer market, including the signings of Alisson Becker (£67 Million), Naby Keita (£52.75 Million) Fabinho (43.75 Million) and Xherdan Shaqiri (£13.5 Million). Liverpool were good last season but, if the players brought in have the desired effect, they could be the main challengers to Manchester City this season.
West Ham have been busy too though, and have signed the likes of Felipe Anderson from Lazio, Andriy Yarmolenko from Borussia Dortmund, and Isap Diop from Toulouse in some big money deals. Meanwhile, signing Jack Wilshere on a free transfer could also prove a decent bit of business. The trouble for West Ham is they may need longer for their new players to gel than Liverpool, with Liverpool’s new signings expected to make an instant impact in what is a more established side.
Liverpool also dominated both matches against West Ham last season, winning both the home and away fixtures 4-1. Therefore, the value could be going high in the over/under goals markets, with over 3.5 goals and over 4.5 goals looking obvious plays with both teams expected to be amongst the goals this season. Indeed, Liverpool 38 Premier League games produced 122 goals last season, whilst West Ham’s 38 matches produced 116, making them two of four teams whose games averaged more than 3 goals a game last season. The other two were Arsenal and Manchester City – a statistic which leads nicely to our last match write-up of this week.
Arsenal vs Manchester City (Sunday 16.00)
Arsenal vs Manchester City Betting. Arsenal 11/4, Draw 11/4, Manchester City Evens
Riyad Mahrez eventually got his move from Leicester to Manchester City and, after starting the Community Shield, Mahrez looks sure to feature prominently in Pep Guardiola’s plans this season. Manchester City hardly needed to improve after last season’s record-breaking winning total and they should again prove hard to beat this season. Arsenal certainly found City too hot to handle last season, losing to the champions twice in the league and once in the League Cup. New manager Umai Emery has had a while to get used to his players but may still need this season to gel them into a competitive force, and Champions League qualification for next season is probably their aim. Therefore, there will probably be plenty of takers about the even-money available about City. However, with both teams matches averaging over three goals a game last season, including the three matches between them, over 2.5 goals will probably be the professionals pick for the game.