EPL: Week One Preview

Week One Preview

Our soccer writer previews the English Premier League Week One action which kicks off on Friday 10 August 2018.

The opening weekend of the Premier League kicks off this Friday with some compelling fixtures lined up. Manchester City begin their title defence at a new-look Arsenal side under the tutelage of Unai Emery, while last season’s runners-up, Manchester United, open proceedings with a mouth-watering affair against Leicester City at the Theatre of Dreams. There will be high hopes for Liverpool this time around after they’ve strengthened their squad in key areas, with their first test coming up against Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United.

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Chelsea also come into the new campaign with a fresh look about them with Maurizio Sarri’s first taste of Premier League football coming away to Huddersfield. Lastly, Tottenham Hotspur, who will be playing their first four matches away from home, kick-start their season at St. James’ Park against Newcastle United. If the 2018/19 campaign is anything like the last one that just passed us by, we’re in for another exhilarating ride.

Friday 10 August

Manchester United 5/10
Draw 32/10
Leicester City 6/1
After failing to win a league title in his second season as a manager, for the very first time, Jose Mourinho kick-starts his third year at the helm against a fiery Leicester City side. The Portuguese mentor will be without Nemanja Matic due to injury, so it seems that new-recruit, Fred, will partner Ander Herrera in the heart of the Manchester United midfield.

Claude Puel has lost his star man in Riyad Mahrez, who moved to Manchester City, while he also seemed to rule Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire out of their first matchup. Maguire has been linked with a move to the Red Devils since the World Cup ended, while the Foxes do not pose much of a threat without Vardy, especially with the Englishman boasting a fantastic record against the league’s top six sides. That said, a first win of the campaign is on the cards for Mourinho and his Manchester United team.

Saturday 11 August

Newcastle United 11/4
Draw 24/10
Tottenham 21/20
Tottenham Hotspur make the trip to Tyneside where they battle it out with Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United. Spurs announced last month that they will be playing their first four matches of the season away from home due to their stadium still being under construction. Mauricio Pochettino will welcome back plenty of his first-team players who missed pre-season preparations due to their World Cup exploits.

The likes of Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and World Cup winning captain, Hugo Lloris, are all expected to return. Newcastle have utilised the transfer market quite well, signing Yoshinori Muto, Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schar, while they also captured Kenedy on another season-long loan and Martin Dubravka on a permanent contract. Despite Newcastle’s decent transfer business, Tottenham are still tipped to edge it at even money.

Huddersfield 9/2
Draw 29/10
Chelsea 6/10
A new era awaits for Chelsea as they begin their transition from a defensive and cautious approach to a fast-paced and fluid passing game. All eyes will be on Maurizio Sarri and his team this Saturday as he looks to replicate what former Blues boss, Antonio Conte, did and win the league title in his first season at the helm. Huddersfield went to Stamford Bridge and got a point last term, but at home, they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.

After the Chelsea game, the Terriers travel to face Manchester City, so they’ll be hoping to cause some major upsets in the early stages of the season. Sarri will be hoping to instil his philosophy from the first game of the campaign, and after witnessing what his Napoli side was capable of, Chelsea can expect great things to come from their head coach in the future. Back the Blues here at 6/10.

Watford 13/10
Draw 22/10
Brighton & Hove Albion 23/10
Watford will be looking to keep their top-flight status come May, but will look to do so without Brazilian wonderkid, Richarlison, who made the move up north to Everton. The Hornets haven’t really used the money they got from Richarlison’s departure, with Gerard Deulofeu, who was with the club on loan last season, being their only big-name signing.

Brighton have done some decent business in the window, making eight new signings, at the time of writing, including Bafana Bafana international, Percy Tau. The former Mamelodi Sundowns forward has difficulties of getting a work permit, while Chris Hughton also confirmed that he will be sent out on loan. I’m backing Under 2.5 Goals here at 13/20.

Fulham 27/20
Draw 47/20
Crystal Palace 2/1
Fulham make their return to the Premier League with a thrilling encounter against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side. Slavisa Jokanovic’s side was always too good for second-tier football, and with the new additions they’ve made, you get the feeling that the Cottagers are here to keep their top-flight status.

Fulham have acquired the services of Alfie Mawson, Andre Schurrle and Jean Michael Seri, who attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea. Crystal Palace could still possibly lose Wilfried Zaha before the season kicks off, and as history has shown us, the Eagles do not perform well without their star talisman. Last season, they started off in the worst possible way, losing their opening seven matches. Fulham are well worth a punt here at 27/20.



Bournemouth 9/10
Draw 5/2
Cardiff City 32/10
Bournemouth have been one of the surprise packages for a number of years now as Eddie Howe begins his fourth season in the top flight with the Cherries. The 40-year-old boss has got the club playing an exciting brand of football, but there has, however, always been that sense of uncertainty surrounding their leaky defence.

Cardiff City haven’t done much to silence their doubters in the transfer market thus far, with not one of their new recruits coming from a top-flight team. Neil Warnock has a remarkable record of getting teams into the Premier League, doing so for a record eighth time. It’s staying in the league that Warnock has struggled with. Bournemouth are a top bet for me at 19/20.

Wolves 13/10
Draw 9/4
Everton 9/4
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton square off in Saturday’s evening kick-off. Both teams are tipped by many as dark horses to challenge for a spot in European football, despite Wolves just earning promotion a couple of months ago. Nuno Espirito Santo made some fantastic signings in the transfer window including Rui Patricio, Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore.

Everton have done impressive business of their own and have added the likes of Richarlison and Lucas Digne to their ranks. They also have a mastermind tactician in Marco Silva as their head coach. It’s tough to separate these two sides at such an early stage, but I’ll be brave and back Everton on the Win/Draw & Both Teams to Score market at 7/4.

Sunday 12 August

Liverpool 1/4
Draw 52/10
West Ham 10/1
Liverpool kick-start the new campaign with high hopes as Jurgen Klopp seems to have finally sorted out the Reds’ main problems. The club acquired the services of Naby Keita, whose deal was wrapped up a while ago, with the Reds also signing Fabinho to anchor the midfield and Alisson Becker to sort out their goalkeeping problems. Liverpool now have the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and the world’s most expensive defender, so Klopp will be surely running out of excuses should his side continue to leak in goals.

West Ham have not only made impressive signings, but also have one of the best managers in the league, Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean mentor has shown that he has the capabilities of making it in the Premier League, and after capturing Felipe Anderson, Lukasz Fabianski, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko, the Hammers can almost certainly expect a spot in one of Europe’s top competitions. Liverpool on the Double Chance & Both Teams to Score offers some decent value at 21/20 – get on!

Southampton 8/10
Draw 5/2
Burnley 38/10
Southampton will be looking to do much better this time around after a torrid last season, surviving the drop towards the back end of last campaign. They need to improve if they are to stay in the league, while they will have to do so without Dusan Tadic, who moved to Ajax Amsterdam for around £15m. Burnley have kept all of their star players who finished seventh in the league last season, while they also strengthened their backline by bringing in Middlesbrough captain, Ben Gibson, also for £15m. A tight affair is expected here so I’ll be taking Under 2.5 Goals here 13/20.

Arsenal 26/10
Draw 28/10
Manchester City 19/20
This is a very tough call because it’s so early in the season. It’s Unai Emery’s first home game in charge of Arsenal and you’d expect the Gooners in the stands to be fired up. Although Emery is a coach who enjoys attacking football, he’ll be cautious when attacking City. As much as both teams will want to start the season off with a win, neither side will want to lose the opening game. It’s always a big call when you don’t back a City win, but I’m going for the draw here. 
Click here to read more about this match. 

TREBLE @ 5/1
Manchester United Win 5/10
Chelsea Win 6/10
Fulham Win 27/20



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