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 Sunday’s Premier League betting tips:
Newcastle vs Tottenham (Sunday, 1:30pm)
The signs are rather ominous for Newcastle United fans, with Rafa Benitez publicly outspoken in his frustration at a lack of new signings. The best manager the club has had in a long while may soon be exiting stage left.
It is strange that the Magpies haven’t reinforced what is a good Championship level squad, with Dwight Gayle unlikely to net the goals required to keep his side up and a back four containing Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett, well, sleepwalking to disaster. Perhaps Mike Ashley’s cost saving exercise is being carried out with one eye on possible relegation.
Another top four finish is the name of the game for Tottenham, and there’s no reason why they can’t achieve that. Pundits have queried their lack of signings, but this Spurs squad contains two quality players in most positions. Case in point: Kyle Walker has left, his deputy Kieran Trippier is injured but into the breach steps England international Eric Dier. That’s proper squad depth.
Mauricio Pochettino is a master tactician and has helped turn Tottenham into one of the meanest defensive outfits in the land. This feeble Newcastle attack will struggle to break through.
Tottenham to Win to Nil (2/1 with Paddy Power)
Manchester United vs West Ham (Sunday, 4:00pm)
There will be a sense of optimism around Old Trafford – there always is at the start of the season, but this is a team with more questions than answers. Can Romelu Lukaku replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goals and character? Are Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial promising youngsters or the real deal for right now? And just what is the best central defensive partnership at the club?
Don’t expect Jose Mourinho to reinvent the wheel – or his wheel, anyway. This will be stoic conservatism rather than flashy flair and frivolousness, and that should be enough to see them over the line against a deleted West Ham side.
Slaven Bilic will be without Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio and Sofiane Feghouli for this trip north, while Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic are rated as doubtful. It could be a very lonely afternoon for United old boy Javier Hernandez in attack.
Bilic will know his best chance of getting anything from the game will be to defend in numbers – a boring spectacle awaits.
Under 2.5 Goals (6/5 with Coral)