The new Premiership season is finally upon us, and their are some fascinating clashes in an action packed weekend which throw up some decent punting opportunities (all football bets here).
Arsenal v Sunderland
On Saturday, Arsenal are general 1.4 shots to beat Sunderland at the Emirates, as they start their new campaign without leading goalscorer Robin van Persie following his move to Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger’s men have lost just one of their last 17 league games against the Black Cats and the gaffer has a good record in head-to-heads with their boss Martin O’Neill.
O’Neill has only won one of 16 Premier League meetings between the pair as a manager (W1 D6 L9), with that sole a 2-0 win coming at the Emirates with Aston Villa way back in November 2008.
The departure of van Persie has certainly given the first goalscorer market a far more open look than last season when the Dutchman was a red-hot favourite for every game.
You can now get 5 the field on who will net first, with new signing Lukas Podolski heading the market on that price with bet365.
However bet365 also go a top price 6 about another new addition, Olivier Giroud, and that looks better value.
The Frenchman has the physical presence to cause the Sunderland back-line all sorts of problems, and one of his major strengths is in the air which could well prove major plus in this clash given that 28% of the goals Sunderland conceded last season were headers.
West Brom v Liverpool
Liverpool are 1.91 shots with Betfred and Paddy Power to beat West Brom at The Hawthorns and get off to a flyer under new manager Brendan Rodgers and look a decent bet to do so.
The match promises to be an intriguing affair given that both sides have new gaffers, and the stats suggest it will be a close fought affair.
The Reds have won without conceding five out of the six times in the Premier League in this fixture, but the Baggies won the last meeting between the sides at Anfield.
There also hasn’t been much to split them points wise over the last two seasons, and much will depend on whether Liverpool can start to convert the chances that they create.
The Reds posted the worst chance conversion rate of any team last season when scoring with just 9% of attempts and hit the woodwork a record 33 times.
Rodgers is sure to have instilled into his players the need to find the back of the net with more regularity, and it would be no surprise to see them respond with positive results.
Suarez is certainly capable of bagging stacks of goals if he gets the service, and looks good value at a standout 6 withBetfred and Boylesports to net the opener in this.
He can also be backed at 2.5 with Paddy Power to net anytime, and that is definitely worth a wager.
Manchester City v Southampton
On Sunday, reigning champions Manchester City play host to Southampton at the Etihad (4pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1), and it should be a case of how many they put past The Saints.
The Blues kicked off last season with a 4-0 thrashing of new promoted Swansea and a similar scenario is surely on the cards.
They were unbeaten at home last year, winning 18 out of 19, and warmed up for this with a 3-2 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield.
If they can put three past rivals of that calibre away from home soil then they will surely bag a hatful against the saints in front of their home supporters.
However backing them at 1.2 makes little appeal, so I am going to suggest playing the correct score and goalscorer markets in a bid to try and find a bit of value.
I think that Roberto Mancini’s men will win this without reply, and split stakes on 3-0 and 4-0 at at 7 and 11 respectively with Paddy Power.
City has plenty of players capable of finding the net, none more so than Sergio Aguero who netted 23 times in his debut PL season.
The Argentinian is a class act capable of prising open any defence and looks a worthy favourite at 4.33 with bet365 to bag the first of the game.
Wigan v Chelsea
In the earlier game on Sunday (1.30pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1), Chelsea look bankers at 1.62 with bet365 to beat Wigan away.
The Blues have not been entirely convincing in their pre-season build up, but have added some real quality to their ranks in the summer with the signings of Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar.
They have plenty more match winners in their ranks than Wigan, and this looks an encounter where class will tell.
That should mean a comfortable win for Chelsea, and the stats are certainly in their favour.
They have won 11 and lost just one of 14 Premier League meetings with Wigan, and enjoyed their joint-biggest win away from home in PL history when they beat the Latics 6-0 in August 2010.
Throw in the fact that they have also won this fixture to nil each time it’s been played in August, and makes the odds of 2.5 with bet365 and Paddy Power for Chelsea to win to without reply look well worth a wager.
On the goal scoring front, Fernando Torres looks a worthy favourite at 5 with bet365 and Paddy Power to net the opener.
The Spaniard was in terrific form in Euro 2012, and looked sharp when grabbing the first in last weekend’s Community Shield clash with Man City.
Everton v Manchester United
Finally, the big game on Monday night (8pm KO, Live on Sky Sports 1) sees Manchester United take on Everton at Goodison, where new signing Robin van Persie could make his debut.
The Dutchman is in the squad after completing his £24m move from Arsenal in time, and the thought of him linking up with Wayne Rooney is a mouth watering prospect.
As far as the stats are concerned, Everton have won just one of the last 14 Premier League games against United (W1 D4 L9).
The Toffees are also habitual slow starts and have a record of two wins, one draw and seven defeats on the opening day under David Moyes.
Throw in the fact that United won 13 on the road last season – the highest in the PL- and you can see why they are worthy odds-on shots to bag all three points.
If RVP does get a start the I think he is a terrific price at 2.3 with bet365 to make a dream start in a United shirt and score anytime.