Let’s be honest, unless you’re Portuguese (or to an extent Welsh) the Euro 2016 tournament was one to forget. But the good news is the new Premier League season is right around the corner. Let’s take a look at the opening day fixtures and the sports odds and stats provided by Best Deal Casinos.
Saturday 13th August
Hull City vs Leicester City
Hull recently promoted from the Championship via the play-offs against the reigning, defending, undisputed Premier League Champions, who still have the core of the team that won them the league in the first place. A rock-solid Kasper Schmeichel in goal, Jamie Vardy up top looking to have another great season. Forget about it, this is Leicester’s match all day long, but the rest of the season will be a challenge.
Burnley vs. Swansea
This will be tight. Burnley were the clear winners of the Championship last season and were unbeaten since Christmas. The big fish from a small pond now find themselves in a much bigger lake. Swansea manager, Francesco Guidolin, only took over the club in January but faced intense speculation and betting on his future before the season was even over. He remains in charge, for now, but will expect much better things from his Swans going forward. As for this match, it’s got draw written all over it.
Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich Albion
Close but no cigar was the final headline for Palace after they narrowly lost the FA Cup Final. Palace and Albion finished 15th and 14th, respectively last season, and you can’t get much closer. Palace have made what could potentially be a key signing in Andros Townsend after a short spell at Newcastle who are now relegated. Expect a finish to this match as close as their standings last season, draw.
Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The opening day marks Ronald Koeman’s first match at Goodison Park as the new Everton manager. The Toffee’s fans will be expecting big things after his success at Southampton but his task won’t be made any easier by facing Tottenham. Spurs are wounded after a strong season where they came close to the league title before falling at the last hurdle and finishing 3rd. Mauricio Pochettino still has a strong squad including Hugo Lloris in goal who had a strong Euros, Eric Dier (maybe England’s best player in a dreadful campaign). Harry Kane was the Premier League’s top scorer but didn’t turn up in France, he’ll be looking for redemption this season.
Middlesbrough vs. Stoke City
Since finishing 2nd in the Championship, Middlesbrough have made some very smart acquisitions for their return to the Premier League. Three-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Victor Valdes is expected to be the clubs new number 1 whilst they’ve strengthened their outfield with Marten de Roon and Viktor Fischer. In Stoke, Mark Hughes has done a solid job in charge of the Potters, this season Jack Butland and Captain Ryan Shawcross will looking to give the new England manager something to think about. For the opening day, look for a narrow win for the Boro.
Southampton vs. Watford
Southampton continues to survive and impress in the Premier League despite losing their star players and managers. The first job for Claude Puel will be replacing Sadio Mané before they meet the Hornets on the opening day. At time of writing, no team has made any considerable acquisitions, expect a draw.
Manchester City vs. Sunderland
Pep Guardiola’s first match in the Premier League is unfortunate timing for Sunderland. The Black Cats barely survived the last Premier League and look set to lose their manager Big Sam Allardyce who is in talks for the vacant England job. Expect a dominant City win.
Sunday 14th August
AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United
Jose Mourinho finally has the job he has coveted for a long time. The Special One hasn’t wasted any time with the signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and free agent Zlatan Ibrahimovich and rumours of a Paul Pogba return on the horizon. Mourinho will most likely look for a pragmatic win, but a win none the less.
Arsenal vs. Liverpool
The Gunners finished in 2nd place last season but will need to sign a big-name striker if they wish to better that as Olivier Giroud just doesn’t cut the mustard. Wenger’s task won’t be made any easier due to the expected revival of Manchester thanks to Guardiola and Mourinho. Meanwhile Jürgen Klopp prepares for his first full season in charge of the Kop and has been signing some key players. As things stand a Liverpool upset isn’t out of the question for the opening day.
Monday 15th August
Chelsea vs. West Ham United
New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has only recently taken charge of the club after finishing up his Italy obligations and will be looking for an instant improvement for the Blues after finishing in 10th place last season. Meanwhile the Hammers had a very impressive final season at the Boleyn Ground and will be looking to carry that over to the new Olympic Stadium. Both clubs will be looking to strengthen with new signings ahead of the season but haven’t announced any at time of writing (Carlos Tevez turned down a return to West Ham). A narrow Chelsea win seems the most likely outcome.