Weekly Sports Preview : The Premier League is Back
Event Venue: various venues, Monday 6 August to Sunday 12 August. Live on Sky Sports, Eurosport and BT Sport.See Stats
Another busy sporting week lies ahead of us. This preview looks at important games in the Champions League and Europa League, the Second Test between England and India and the start of the Premier League season.
Champions League: Celtic v AEK Athens - Wednesday 8 August 7.45pm
Celtic are only four games away from the group stages of the Champions League. They take on AEK Athens from Greece in the third qualifying round with either Malmo or MOL Vidi awaiting in the play-off round. The Scottish champions will be looking for a good lead to take to Greece for the second leg and are in good form at present. They are unbeaten in their last eight games and have won three out of four in the Champions League so far this season.
AEK Athens reached the last 32 of the Europa League last season after losing to Club Brugge in the Champions League play-off round and haven't qualified for the group stages since the 2006-07 season. Form in this competition is poor with four straight defeats and one win in their last 13 away games. That was away to Hearts in 2006 and Athens have won six out of eight European games against Scottish sides but have never met Celtic. Win number seven doesn't look likely, back Celtic to get the win here.
Get odds of 3/4 on Celtic beating AEK Athens with Boylesports (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
Second Test: England v India - Thursday 9 August 11am
England won a dramatic first test against India but again showed their frailities. The opening partnership still struggles and Cook is having a nightmare against Ashwin who took seven wickets in the match. Ollie Pope looks set to make his debut replacing the disappointing Dawid Malan and hopefully Jos Buttler, who has done so well for England this summer, will return to form after scoring just one run at Edgbaston. England will be without Ben Stokes for this game and that could be a crucial blow.
India would have suffered a much heavier defeat but for Virat Kohlli's form in the first test. He scored 200 of their 438 runs in the match. The next highest score by an Indian batsman was just 31 and their top order has to do much better if they are to be competitive in this match. A lot depends on how England cope without Stokes but with Curran in form, they can go 2-0 up in the series.
You can get odds of 1/1 on England to beat India with Betfair (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
Europa League: Istanbul Buyuksehir v Burnley - Thursday 9 August 7pm
Burnley are about to find out just what an impact Thursday night football might have on their Premier League season. Just three days before they start their season away at Southampton, they are in Istanbul for this Europa League third qualifying round tie. A tie against either Vitesse or Basel awaits the winner in the play-off round so it's going to be a tough task to get through to the group stages.
It took extra time for Burnley to get past Aberdeen in the last round and now face a side who have only lost two of their last 47 home games in the Turkish Super League. Burnley will be looking for a typical performance from them that sees few goals scored and coming away with a result that keeps them in the tie. A bet on the home side to win and under 2.5 goals in the game looks a good one to go for.
There are some great odds of 13/5 on Istanul Buyuksehir winning and under 2.5 goals with Coral (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
Friday/Saturday Premier League fixtures
The long wait is over and on Friday England's top league gets underway as Manchester United host Leicester City. It's the second year in a row Leicester have kicked their season off on a Friday night having lost 4-3 at Arsenal last season. There'll be lots of speculation in the week leading up to this game as to who Harry Maguire will be playing for, with United keen to sign him or anyone really. Leicester have aleady lost Riyad Mahrez and not made any major investments so United could get off to a winning start.
The pick of Saturday's games in the Premier League see Liverpool hosting West Ham. Both sides have made major signings during the summer but Liverpool look the ones to back. Newly promoted Fulham could get their season off to a good start with a home win over Crystal Palace who will be desperate to avoid the terrible start they made last season and keep hold of Wilfried Zaha before the transfer window closes.
Huddersfield Town will do well to stay up this season and begin with a home game against Chelsea with a trip to Manchester City next weekend. Tottenham have been quiet in the transfer window and kick off with a game at Newcastle United, will Harry Kane actually score in August this year?
Current odds for Tottenham to beat Newcastle are 1/1 with Unibet (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
Arsenal v Manchester City - Sunday 12 August 4pm
The best is left to last in the opening set of Premier League fixture. Arsenal play their first league game under new boss Unai Emery though it probably won't Gooners shouting 'Emery Out' in 21 years time. He faces the toughest baptism of fire you can get with a home fixture against the reigning champions Manchester City who looked in top form when beating Chelsea in the Community Shield at the weekend and with some top players sitting on the bench.
Arsenal lost three times to City last season and conceded three goals. They have made signings during the summer and it will be interesting to see just how they get on and how long Emery will have a honeymoon period if results don't go his way. This game is followed by a trip to Stamford Bridge but after that they don't face a team who finished in the top four last season until the start of November. This preview believes City can continue where they left off last season and get the win over Arsenal.
Get odds of 21/20 on Manchester City beating Arsenal with William Hill (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)
- Leicester City have lost their opening fixture in each of the last two Premier League seasons
- Manchester United have won their opening Premier League fixture for the past three seasons.
- Manchester City have won their opening game in the Premier League fo the past four seasons conceding just once.
- England have only won one of their last three test matches against India played at Lord's
- AEK Athens have lost their last four games in the Champions League.
- AEK Athens have only won one of their last 13 away Champions League matches.
- Manchester City beat Arsenal three times last season scoring three times in each match.
- The last eight games between Arsenal and Manchester City have had over 2.5 goals scored in them.
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