THE Premier League is back! Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) returns with his three best bets from the weekend coupon.
Man Utd v Tottenham | Saturday 12:45 | BT Sport 1
Well, welcome back! It’s been a torrid summer with little to get excited about but thankfully the Premier League returns this weekend. It may be overrated and sickeningly rich, but hey, it’s great to bet on.
To kick us off I’ll focus on the opening match between Manchester United and Tottenham. You may recall we were here last year. Old Trafford was the venue for the lunchtime season opener. United went to post a very short price to beat Swansea in Louis Van Gaal’s opener, but of course they came unstuck and lost 2-1. Any thoughts of the Red Devils winning the title were almost immediately killed off after that.
Will we see the same opening day ineptitude here? You can never really tell with Van Gaal’s United but I don’t think so. This is a side who really found their feet as the season progressed, and the foundation of that was their strong home form.
Those three dominant wins over Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City between mid-March and early-April provides us with a peek into what might be this season. Yes, you may wish to point out their late-season collapse against the likes of West Brom and Everton but I put that down to the end of a very tiring, and at times traumatic season.
Van Gaal simply has to deliver a much stronger title challenge this season, and it starts here. Between that defeat to Swansea and the early-May loss to WBA Manchester United were P16 W14 D1 L1 in the league at Old Trafford. Formidable!
I’m not sure about Tottenham this season. It feels like they’ve stood still. I’m sure they’ll bring in more players over the next three weeks but a season bobbing between 5th and 7th awaits I think.
Spurs were beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford last season and something similar would see me paid out as I’ll be backing United -1 on the Asian Handicap at 9/8 with BetVictor. This means that if the home side win by two or more I get paid out, while a one goal victory sees my stake returned.
Bournemouth v Aston Villa | Saturday 15:00
We’ve seen some goal-laden opening day matches involving newly promoted sides in recent years. Some examples? Remember Wigan 0 v 4 Blackpool in 2010 or how about QPR 0 v 4 Bolton in 2011? We could see something similar here I reckon. No, I’m not going for an emphatic win either way, I just think we’ll see goals.
Let’s start with the home side. Bournemouth scored 98 goals in the Championship last season, that was the highest number in that division for nine years. They notched in 42 of their 46 league games and 25 of their games ended with both teams scoring. Yes, because as well as being ferocious in front of the goal, Bournemouth also leaked at the back. 45 in total. No second tier champions had conceded more since 2009.
As for Aston Villa, well I ended up with lots of egg on my face in May as their soulless display in the FA Cup Final cost me money and kudos. I genuinely believed they would win. I’ve been against them over the last three seasons but don’t feel the urge this time round.
It’s a defining season for Tim Sherwood I think. Will he see it out? Will he put the many doubters to bed forever? It will be intriguing to find out. The Cockney rascal has brought in a whole heap of new players since Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph moved on.
Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Ayew and Rudy Gestede look exciting signings and their first target will be to make sure Villa surpass the pathetic 31 goals they managed to muster last season. If the new players click they’ll do that comfortably.
It’s worth pointing out that 19 of those 31 goals were scored in Sherwood’s 13 matches. That bodes well for the new season. I’ll take that positivity into this match and back both teams to score at 19/20 with Betfair.
I expect both these sides to come out the traps fast on Saturday. Bournemouth will be higher than you were at Glastonbury while Villa will feel liberated to be free of last year’s torturous dire campaign.
Newcastle v Southampton | Sunday 13:30
It was interesting to see Ronald Koeman playing a number of senior players on Thursday night in their Europa League match with Vitesse. The tie had pretty much been wrapped up in the opening leg so that surprised me. We’re sure to get a real insight in the months ahead into how the Saints cope with playing on two regular fronts this season. First test – Sunday.
It’s all change at Newcastle. A new manager, and a more forceful transfer policy. For me Steve McClaren has a lot to prove as his career has taken a wrong turn over the last four years or so. That play-off final defeat to QPR in 2014 defined his time as Derby coach.
There’s no doubt that the guy is a talented operator though and if he can use his position on the board to introduce harmony at the club then it could be an exciting season.
This opening match looks tasty. Big crowd, desperate for success as the new era kicks off. I can see Newcastle playing well. The signing of Aleksander Mitrovic fascinates me. Young, arrogant, dangerous even. He could be one of the stories of the season.
Southampton of course were one of the stories of the season in 2014/15. Written off by many they ended up finishing 7th and they should be able to finish in the Top 10 again this time round.
Saints scored in 26 of their 38 games last season but on only five occasions failed to score against a bottom half side. They’ll be in the groove after their Europa League exploits and I’m confident they can notch here.
Man Utd v Tottenham – Man Utd -1 Asian Handicap (9/8 BetVictor)
Bournemouth v Aston Villa – Both Teams To Score (19/20 Betfair)
Newcastle v Southampton – Both Teams To Score (17/20 Ladbrokes)
Wow! Coral are offering new players odds of 6/1 that we see any goal scored in the Premier League before 5pm on Saturday!
So as long as there’s a goal in either the lunchtime game or the four 3pm kick-offs you’ll get paid out!