There’s been the usual summer hi-jinx involving new signings, players wanting out, managerial changes and even ground moves, but now the dust on that merry-go-round has settled and the serious business can begin.
Every fan and punter across the land thinks this is going to be ‘their year’, so let’s get started on the right foot with a profitable first weekend.
Here are Saturday’s Premier League betting tips:
Watford vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30pm)
It’s a new dawn at Watford, with old boss Walter Mazzarri shown the exit door and replaced by the dynamic Marco Silva, who did enough n his time at Hull City to suggest he can revive the fortunes of flagging outfits.
The Hornets will have pace in abundance in attack courtesy of Andre Gray, the promising Will Hughes will orchestrate from midfield and Roberto Peyrera, the forgotten man after a long-term injury, will return with redemption in mind. Add that to a defence that has kept four consecutive clean sheets ad a Vicarage Road crowd buzzing for the new season, and it’s not hard to fancy Watford’s chances of an upset.
Liverpool’s summer dealings look rather sparse, particularly with Philippe Coutinho longing for Barcelona and Adam Lallana sidelined by yet another medium-term injury.
Jordan Henderson will come back into the side after his own injury hell and boy will this Liverpool side need his spark in the middle. They have failed to bolster their weak defensive options, which have been plundered even further by the injury to Nathaniel Clyne.
It would take a brave punter to back Watford outright here, but a handicap wager in their favour is wise.
Watford +1.00 Asian Handicap (8/9 with Paddy Power)
Chelsea v Burnley (Saturday, 3:00pm)
The defending champions will make their bow on home soil on Saturday, and while expecting a handsome victory here much harder challenges will come.
Antonio Conte has been cool and clinical in the transfer window, improving his defence (Antonio Rudiger) and midfield (Tiemoue Bakayoko), and while the jury is still out on whether Alvaro Morata can adequately replace Diego Costa, at least the Blues have a frontman that actually wants to play for the club.
Let’s not beat about the bush: it’s been a disastrous transfer window for Burnley. Defensive lynchpin Michael Keane has left for Everton, while nine-goal Andre Gray has, bizarrely, been replaced by the hard-working but incapable Jon Walters. Even the loss of George Boyd, an ordinary player at this level but a solid grafter nonetheless, will hurt.
It’s going to be a long old campaign for the Clarets, and they couldn’t have wished for a more difficult start.
Chelsea to Win to Nil (10/11 with William Hill)
Crystal Palace vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 3:00pm)
Positive noises are coming from the Crystal Palace camp. The players seem to have taken to Frank de Boer and his 3-4-3 system, and with Wilfried Zaha freed from the shackles of defensive duties he can now do what he does best and cause havoc in attack.
Huddersfield have done the right thing in bringing back the players that helped them to promotion last term, but you can’t help but think that the Terriers’ ascension to the top flight is rather underwhelming. They lost 15 times in the Championship last term, and that does not bode well for the huge step up in class in the Premier League.
Palace will do what Palace always seem too this season: meander around mid-table. Huddersfield, meanwhile, have the fight of their lives in maintaining their top tier status.
Crystal Palace to Win (5/6 with bet365)