Premier League Gameweek 1 Betting Preview : Goals galore on opening weekend
It feels like the football has barely stopped this summer but the Premier League is already back on Friday night with Liverpool vs Norwich getting the season underway at Anfield.
Canaries to get worrying welcome at Anfield
The relentless, non-stop nature of the sport is being felt by Liverpool as much as any side with a number of their big players having to play throughout the summer. Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino were at the Copa America with Brazil, while Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were playing in the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal and Egypt respectively. This is after an extended previous campaign due to their Champions League success, as well.
All four have missed a big chunk of pre-season and whether they are ready to go properly this weekend is doubtful. However, the Reds remain one of the best teams on the planet and they are taking on Premier League newcomers Norwich in front of their own fans. Even if their big names are not at their peak, they will have too much for the Canaries.
Norwich were dominant in the Championship last season, comfortably topping the table and out-scoring any other side in the division. However, their defence was far from water-tight. The Canaries conceded 57 goals last season, to put that into context, Stoke finished 16th conceding 52 and Birmingham 17th conceding 58. They have a potent attack, at Championship level, but even there the defence did not hold up brilliantly.
Against one of the finest attacks in the game, Norwich will not be able to cope. Back Liverpool with a -2 handicap at 5/4 with Betfair.
Hornets to sting the Seagulls
Watford may not have made any huge splashes in the transfer market this summer, but they have enjoyed a period of stability which is rare for a club that changes manager at the drop of a hat.
The Hornets had a very steady season last year, finishing 11th and threatening to do much better at some stages, also reaching the FA Cup final impressively. Their pre-season results have been excellent, beating the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad and they will be confident heading into the new campaign.
Brighton have not enjoyed such stability and are going through a period of substantial change under new manager Graham Potter who is making his Premier League debut as a boss this weekend. They have spent a lot of money on completely unproven players - £22m Adam Webster from Bristol City and £18m Neal Maupay from Brentford included, and, while Potter might work long-term, he will need some serious bedding-in.
Watford have lost just one of their last nine meetings with Brighton and they will win this one. Back the Hornets at 10/11 to beat the Seagulls with Ladbrokes.
Arsenal’s wild ride of a season begins at St James’ Park
Arsenal’s transfer policy is nothing if not entertaining for the neutral. With an obviously shaky, borderline calamitous defence to their name, they have done virtually nothing to fix that. While at the same time they have bolstered their forward line with Nicolas Pepe and improved creativity in midfield with Dani Ceballos. They could still add a defender before the transfer window closes, but realistically, one is not going to be enough to fix the problems at the back.
The Gunners are set to be a thrilling watch this campaign with a dreadful defence and lethal attack, we can expect goals in all of their contests. What to expect from Newcastle under Steve Bruce is less obvious.
The Magpies have actually made a couple of exciting, big-money signings in Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin but it is fair to say that very little is expected of the side since Rafael Benitez departed from the dugout earlier in the summer. The Spaniard got a lot out of a very average team and the abilities of Bruce to do so are in serious question.
Arsenal will be all-out attack, because that appears to be all they have got and Newcastle probably won’t be able to stand up to it. They will, however, have some joy against the Gunners’ useless defence so this should be a great one for the neutrals.
Solskjaer and Lampard to go all out at Old Trafford
Probably the most intriguing game of the opening weekend sees Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard trying to stamp their authority on their respective clubs.
Both have had tricky summers for different reasons. Solskjaer struggling to keep hold of players and to bring in ones he wants, probably just wants the transfer window to close. Lampard is working under a transfer ban so can’t add to his squad, but at least that allows for a level of stability which the Red Devils cannot enjoy.
Solskjaer and Lampard both have clear visions of how they want to play, with a fast-paced, attacking, pressing game. Neither are quite capable of imposing that just yet, with new-look teams and generally being inexperienced managers. However, it should create a really exciting contest between two sides out to attack, but neither being especially good. Mistakes will be made, goals will be scored and the outcome is unpredictable.
United are the favourites to win the match, but at 11/10 are not appealing at all. What is much more tempting is the Both Teams To Score market with United’s defence still not up to much and Chelsea likely to slip up under a new style of play.
- Liverpool scored 89 goals in 38 Premier League games last season
- Norwich conceded 57 goals last season, only 8th least in the Championship
- Liverpool conceded fewest goals in the Premier League last season (22)
- Norwich have not beaten Liverpool since 1994
- Brighton have one win over Watford in their last nine attempts
- Watford won three consecutive friendlies ahead of the opening day of the season
- Only the relegated sides scored less goals than Brighton last season
- Only Man City and Liverpool scored more goals than Arsenal last season
- Arsenal have won 12 of their last 13 matches against Newcastle
- Man Utd conceded more goals than Newcastle and Crystal Palace last campaign
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