The Premier League gets back underway this weekend after a quickfire turnaround over the summer. But, which sides should be included on soccer predictions betting slips this weekend, and which teams should be the ones to avoid?
Premier League Gets Underway
Another exciting season lies in wait for the 20 teams that will contest in the Premier League. The biggest prize of all is the Premier League title, but will anybody be able to bridge the 18-point gap that Liverpool won by? Manchester City have been smart in the transfer window by signing Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres, while Chelsea have also spent big to bridge the gap. The Blues will be one of the teams that fans will be looking forward to seeing this season as they have brought in illustrious talents such as Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell. Manchester United will also be looking to build on their third-place finish from last season, with Donny van de Beek expected to have a starring role alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City will be hoping to crash the top four party, with all teams hoping to improve on their fortunes from last season. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton will also be hoping to achieve a European finish, while there will be intrigue to see whether Sheffield United can match their heroics from last term.
As always, the battle at the bottom of the league will be as tense as what is happening at the top, with newcomers such as Fulham and West Bromwich Albion amongst the favourites for the drop. Aston Villa, West Ham United and Crystal Palace will also be looking to steer clear of the relegation places. Meanwhile, there will be excitement to see Marcelo Bielsa lead Leeds United into their first top-flight season for 16 years.
Liverpool vs Leeds United
The fixture that catches the imagination the most this weekend will see newly-promoted Leeds United take on the defending champions. Leeds have waited 16 years to reach the Premier League again following their fall from grace, and Marcelo Bielsa’s primary objective will be to secure their status in the top-flight. However, summer business means that the expectancy is growing slightly, and this fixture could be a measuring stick to how far they have come under the influential manager.
Leeds have certainly put their marker down for the new season, as they have broken their club-record fee for the first time since the arrival of Rio Ferdinand back in 2000. Rodrigo arrives at Elland Road having impressed during his spell with Valencia, with his performances also ensuring that he has become a prominent member of the Spanish national side. The Brazilian-born Spanish international scored four goals in 27 La Liga games last season, which was slightly down on his best tally from 2017-18 when he scored 16. He is a creative striker as he also recorded nine assists last term, and will certainly ease the pressure on Pablo Hernandez in the attacking third for Leeds. However, goals have always been a problem for newly promoted sides, and that will be a huge area for concern for Leeds ahead of the new season.
Liverpool will go into the season looking to successfully defend the Premier League title for the first time in their history. This season will be more challenging than last, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United buying quality players to bridge the gap. Liverpool warmed up for the new season with the Community Shield against Arsenal, but they fell short on that occasion as they lost on penalties. Defending a championship is always seen as a harder challenge, and is a true measuring stick of how great a team truly is. There is no doubting the credentials of this Liverpool outfit, but they will have to be in their very best form throughout the season to achieve that challenge.
Leeds will be an exciting team to watch this season, but it’s difficult to see past Liverpool opening the new campaign with a victory against the newcomers.
Fulham vs Arsenal
The Premier League officially gets underway on Saturday as Arsenal travel to newly-promoted Fulham. The Gunners will be in good confidence having won the Community Shield against Liverpool, but this will be a completely different challenge awaiting them at Craven Cottage.
Scott Parker ended the 2018-19 season as the Fulham manager, but by that point, the damage had already been done. The club were on the brink of relegation, and it was up to Parker to rebuild the team ahead of a competitive Championship season. Defensively Fulham needed to improve to have any chance of being competitive, as their defensive record of conceded 81 goals in the Premier League was certainly not something that could be built on. Last season, that defensive resilience was improved, as Fulham conceded just 48 goals. That newfound defensive structure was on display during the playoffs, as they held off a fluid Brentford side in the final to win 2-1. Antonee Robinson has been brought in from Wigan Athletic to assist the survival mission, while Premier League experienced players such as Mario Lemina, Anthony Knockaert and Aleksandr Mitrovic could also prove decisive.
Arsenal will be targeting a place in the Champions League this season, and the progression of the team under Mikel Arteta would indicate that is something that could be achieved. The Gunners ended the season with FA Cup success having beat Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final respective, but transferring their cup form into league outings will be their biggest challenge. The signing of Gabriel from Lille could be huge for the Gunners as they look to finally amend the defensive issues that have plagued the club from reaching the next level. Willian is also a decent signing, as his experience will benefit the younger players around him.
However, whether they are best placed to challenge the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea for a top-four finish remains to be seen. Regardless, they will open the new season with a victory over Fulham.