English Premier League: Week 1 Preview

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Our football scribe previews the opening gameweek of the 2016/17 English Premier League.

It’s back! The Premier League has finally returned to save us from our desperate attempts to make some money on international and friendly football. Finally, something for the educated masses to toss their money at in the hopes of striking it big. Much like Manchester United’s transfer policy. I’ve already provided my assessment of the season as a whole, but it’s time to start sifting through the opening weekend’s fixtures. The transfer dealings are in, the pre-season is done and it's time to get onto the stuff that really matters – the football.

SATURDAY 13 AUGUST

Hull 26/10 | Draw 22/10 | Leicester 11/10 
The defending champions will get the new season underway when they pay a visit to the KCOM Stadium. They couldn’t ask for an easier first match than the managerless Tigers. Hull City have taken the ostrich in the sand approach to the new season. Put your head in the sand and hope for the best. Unfortunately, these are the big leagues and they’re going to get torn limb from limb. The Foxes will be the first to sink their teeth into the injury-ravaged and woefully under prepared new boys. The 11/10 on offer for the away win seems way too long. I’d be all over that, with a bit extra on the -1 handicap at 3/1.


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16/10 Burnley | Draw 21/10 | Swansea 18/10
Next up is the introduction of last year’s Championship winners, Burnley. There’s a lot to like about the Clarets, with their manager Sean Dyche top of that list. However, they’re another promoted side who have taken a misery approach to their new-found wealth. It’s a dangerous game to play and could have dire consequences for their survival hopes this season. Their opponents on Saturday, Swansea City, haven’t fared much better in the transfer market. In Fernando Llorente, they hope they’ve found the second coming of Michu, but I’m extremely doubtful. On the wrong side of 30 and with a mediocre goalscoring record, he’s hardly the player the fans were hoping for. Under 2.5 goals looks a shoe-in here, although at 11/20 there’s no value about it.

Crystal Palace 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | West Brom 3/1
Just which Crystal Palace will we see this season? The swashbuckling outfit of the first six months of last season or the bumbling lot who claimed just two wins in 21 league matches thereafter? Oh Alan Pardew and his shite or champagne approach to football management. He’d have been perfect for the England job. In the opposition dugout on Saturday is a man that is his polar opposite. Tony Pulis has spent years perfecting the art of doing just enough and being praised for doing so. Palace are generally a better team away from Selhurst Park and I’m happy to have a bit of a stab at West Brom at 3/1. Last season started with a flurry of away victories. Let’s hope history repeats itself.




Everton 19/10 | Draw 9/4 | Tottenham 29/20 
It’s been a strange old off-season at Goodison Park. The demise of Roberto Martinez and the injection of some hard-earned Iranian cash was meant to lift the Toffees to a new level. However, newly appointed manager Ronald Koeman has found his kitty hard to spend so far. Throw in the continued uncertainty surrounding Romelu Lukaku and things don’t look so great. They start the season with a tough test at home to Spurs. Can Mauricio Pochettino’s side repeat their performance from last season? I’m not so sure. It’s been four years since Everton got the better of Spurs, so a home win is unlikely. Both meetings last season ended in a draw, so I’ll stick with that at odds of 9/4.


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Middlesbrough 23/20 | Draw 43/20 | Stoke 51/20
I’m very interested to see how Middlesbrough go this season. They’ve made a couple interesting signings and have an up-and-coming manager in charge. It could go either way really. My initial thoughts are they could surprise a few Premier League regulars. First up for them is Stoke City – about the most regular side in the Premier League. Mark Hughes may have transformed the way they play, but three consecutive ninth place finishes is all he has to show for it. They tried bashing their way through the glass ceiling with Pulis and Hughes’ thief in the night approach isn’t proving much better. No side performed better in the Championship at home last season than Middlesbrough, where they conceded just eight goals in 23 games. Boro to win and keep a clean sheet at 2/1 certainly has some value about it.

Southampton 8/10 | Draw 5/2 | Watford 34/10
It’s been a regular old off-season for Southampton. That is to say, they have lost their manager to another English club and their best players to Liverpool among others. How much longer can this go on for? Surely they will fall short on choice of manager or recruitment before long. First up for them, this season is Watford, who come into the season a bit under the radar. Whereas last season’s arrival was announced with a flurry of signings, this year they’ve taken a bit more measured approach. Walter Mazzari became their fifth manager in two years toward the end of last season and kept them up, but there remains uncertainty over his credentials. It’s difficult to look past a home win, which comes in at 8/10. Throw this into your multiples.




Man City 2/9 | Draw 52/10 | Sunderland 11/1
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City revolution gets underway proper on Saturday evening with a home fixture against David Moyes’ Sunderland. It’s been a hit and miss pre-season for the Spaniard, with a couple good signings undermined by a few mediocre results. Last Sunday’s humbling at the hands of Arsenal would’ve raised a few eyebrows (and the hopes of Gunners supporters), but I wouldn’t look too far into it. They’re still packed with class across the board. As for Sunderland, well they’ll be much more organised under Moyes and could prove a tricky first test for Pep’s men. In the endless quest for value, I’m going for a Draw/Man City HT/FT double at 26/10. It may take a while, but they’ll get that breakthrough and win fairly comfortably in the end.

SUNDAY 14 AUGUST

Bournemouth 39/10 | Draw 51/20 | Man United 15/20
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United career got off to an ideal start last Sunday afternoon, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic rising highest to nod in the winner against Leicester. While the big Swede will claim the plaudits, it is Antonio Valencia who has been the standout during pre-season. They remain a bit stodgy in the midfield areas, but the fluidity will come over time. Their first Premier League test is a trip to Dean Court to face Bournemouth. The Cherries will look to push on in their second season in the big time and have made some decent signings to aid their progression. Enough to beat this United side? I don’t think so. The away win is another for the multiples at 15/20.

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Arsenal 13/10  | Draw 23/10 | Liverpool 21/10

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MONDAY 15 AUGUST

Chelsea 6/10 | Draw 28/10 | West Ham 9/2

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Written by Commodore Vegas @Hollywoodbets.net



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