Bournemouth v Sheffield United | Saturday 10th August 2019, 15:00
A trip to Dean Court may have been low down on the list of grounds that Sheffield United supporters were looking forward to visiting upon promotion to the Premier League but it does offer them a chance to gain points at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Cherries ended the last campaign with somewhat of a whimper – gaining just 13 points from their final 14 games – with a 14th place finish not reflective of their early season form.
David Brooks was key for them for much of their last season but a long-term injury means he will miss out against his former club. Despite his absence, Bournemouth possess a lot of attacking threat, with Ryan Fraser, Josh King and Callum Wilson combining for 28 goals last term. Loan signing Harry Wilson may also feature and collectively Bournemouth's attack looks to have too much skill and speed for The Blades backline.
Personally, I think Sheffield United have done some mixed business over the summer. Oli McBurnie has a decent goalscoring record at Championship level but he looks devoid of pace to me and I think he will need plenty of support. That said, I think Chris Wilder has the ability to keep his hometown club in this division and I expect United to be very tough to beat at Bramall Lane.
Unfortunately for them, their first game is on the road and at 21/20 with Betway, Bournemouth look like decent value. Eddie Howe's side started last season with a 2-0 home victory against newly promoted Cardiff City and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a similar scoreline in Dorset on Saturday afternoon.
Crystal Palace v Everton | Saturday 10th August 2019, 15:00
What a strange summer it was for Crystal Palace. Despite earning £50m from the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, The Eagles seemed to make little effort in spending that money. James McCarthy is probably their most notable arrival and they have managed to keep Wilfried Zaha in South London but overall it was a frustrating summer for Roy Hodgson's side.
Michy Batshuayi returned to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell and he hasn't been replaced. Christian Benteke has had issues with form and fitness during his time at the club and with Zaha likely to be absent here I really struggle to see where Palace's goals will come from.
They take on an an Everton side who seemed to lose all form of sanity once their advances for Zaha were rebuffed. Alex Iwobi is a decent footballer but I don't know how they can justify paying in excess of £30m for a player who has never managed more than three league goals in a season for Arsenal despite playing in an advanced position.
Even before the signing of Moise Kean, Everton possessed some excellent attacking options but 11/8 on an away win is far too skinny in my view.
Instead, I have turned my attention to the goals market. Under 2.5 Goals is available at 3/4 with Betway. With goals – excluding penalties – looking in such short supply for Palace and Everton managing just five victories and 24 goals in their 19 away matches last season, I really cannot see a glut here.
Palace didn't score a home league goal until 28th October last season and this exact fixture finished 0-0 just a few months ago and I wouldn't rule out a replica here.