The New Premier League season gets under way next Saturday (August 18th) and there are a number of intriguing fixtures. A popular bet with punters is a multiple on the top teams kicking off with a victory but there could be a couple of stumbling blocks on the opening weekend.
Manchester City will be confident following their 3-2 victory over 10-man Chelsea in the Community Shield and ought to be able to overcome Premiership new boys Southampton. The Saints could hardly have been given a tougher introduction and it may well be a case of damage limitation. Arsenal are still involved in the long running transfer saga of Captain Robin van Persie but have looked good in pre-season and ought to be able to start their campaign with a win over Sunderland. Chelsea have stumbled through their pre-season whilst trying to rebuild after their Champions League glory and have set some early alarm bells ringing with four successive defeats. They go to Wigan as odds-on favourites but could find it difficult to regain the winning thread.
Manchester United suffered the agony of losing the Premiership on goal difference to rivals City with almost the last kick of the season and set out on a recovery mission with a tricky encounter at Everton. Everton stunned United with a 4-4 draw late in the season and will also be looking to be quick off the blocks this term. Bet365 offer a tempting 13-2 about Wigan upsetting Chelsea with the draw at 16-5. The same firm offer 5-2 about Everton holding United to a draw and make the Toffees 3-1 to upset the odds.
Possibly the best matches of the opening weekend are the clashes between last season’s fourth and fifth placed teams, Newcastle and Tottenham, and the game between West Brom and Liverpool. Three of the four teams are under new management and there is bound to be massive interest surrounding Andre Villas-Boas as he steps into the shoes of Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane. Newcastle surprised many with their consistency last season and are just favoured by the bookmakers at 6-4 with Spurs 7-4 and 12-5 the draw. The clash between West Brom and Liverpool is a baptism of fire for former Reds number two Steve Clarke. He has served under some of the best manager’s in the game and now steps out on his own against the side that ousted himself and Kenny Dalglish. This match is also a debut for Brendan Rodgers and he has warned Liverpool fans not to expect too much too soon. A tough encounter looks assured with Liverpool chalked up at evens favourites, the draw at 12-5 and Albion 11-4 to take all three points.
In the remaining fixtures, QPR play Swansea, Fulham host Norwich, Reading play Stoke and West Ham meet Aston Villa.
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