The Premier League is finally back with us and we have got a comprehensive preview of the first weekend of the 2015/16 season thanks to Bet365.
The Barclays Premier League kicks off again in spectacular fashion this weekend with football fans clamouring for the first full round of fixtures since the end of the previous season in May, which saw champions Chelsea lift the trophy after a routine win against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were by far the best team in the league last year and go into the new season as favourites to retain the trophy at 13/8 with bet365. With that being said, the other teams in the top four, Arsenal, Manchester City & Manchester United have significantly bolstered their ranks in the summer break and United have seen plenty of speculative backing at 5/1.
United start the season off at 12:45 on Saturday as they host Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and many are predicting the Red Devils to turn Spurs over. They are priced at 8/13 to win on the day, whilst Spurs are 9/2. Tottenham’s chances will live and die by Harry Kane, who easily has the potential to get on the score sheet, and is 7/1 to do so first on Saturday. With Wayne Rooney being afford a starting berth as the central striker for United, many fans are hopeful he’ll be in sensational goal scoring form this season, and bet365 are clearly predicting him to do just that as he’s priced 10/3 favourite to notch the first goal in the encounter.
Chelsea begin their title defence at 17:30 against Swansea, who they beat quite convincingly both home and away last season with Chelsea’s biggest league win of the year coming at the Liberty Stadium in a stunning 5-0 display. Jose Mourinho and his men will be out for blood after a poor display in the Community Shield led to a rare defeat at the hands of Arsenal, who handed Chelsea legend Petr Cech against his former side for the first time. Chelsea are 1/3 with bet365 to win and PFA Player of The Year Eden Hazard will hope to deliver an inspiring performance after his absent display on Sunday. Despite his poor form at Wembley, many will fancy the mercurial Belgian to get on the score sheet and he is 11/8 to do so anytime. Striker Diego Costa still looks to be unfit for the game and Radamel Falcao may be handed a league debut for Chelsea in his place. The Columbian has struggled for form since a horrific injury back in 2013 but was one of Chelsea’s strongest performers in their last match and may have a good chance of finding the net first at 9/2.
Despite the odds being against them, Swansea have made some stellar signings this summer and will not go down without a fight which makes their 8/1 price with bet365 somewhat appealing. Swans fans are understandably excited about the signing of Andre Ayew from Marseille after he scored on 10 occasions in the previous campaign, and those thinking he may get his scoring underway at Chelsea can back him to do so anytime at 9/2. Garry Monk may also be hopeful that Bafetimbi Gomis will find his way past Thibaut Courtois to score and he can be backed to do so as high as 11/1 at bet365.
Sunday sees Arsenal kick off their season against Slaven Bilic’s West Ham. The signing of Petr Cech represents the final piece of the puzzle for most Arsenal fans, perhaps barring a world class striker, and expectations will be high for the Gunners this season. Arsene Wenger clearly relished the Community Shield victory on Sunday and is no doubt delighted to have finally broken down a Mourinho team after 11 years of trying. Whilst Arsenal will be missing talisman Alexis Sanchez, there seems to be a glut of midfielders at the Emirates lately and so goals should not be in any short supply. With this being the case, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Santi Cazorla are all 9/4 to find the net anytime in the match, and Mesut Ozil isn’t far behind, priced at 13/5 with bet365. During their pre-season West Ham have put in some truly woeful displays, and onlookers are beginning to question whether or not letting Sam Allardyce go at the end of last season was a wise decision. Bilic will be under big pressure to deliver despite his less than stellar pedigree, and the Hammers look set for a poor season ahead, which is reflected by their 11/1 price going into this game.
Sunday afternoon sees a hotly anticipated fixture played out with Liverpool travelling to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City and Brendan Rodgers will be expected to come away with the 3 points after an embarrassing 6-1 defeat on the final day of last season at the hands of the Potters in what was Steven Gerrard’s final game in a Liverpool shirt. In the wake of that defeat, the Reds have spent big during the summer to try and replicate the title charge that saw them narrowly miss the trophy back in the 2013-14 season and the Anfield faithful’s hopes will be pinned on the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke. The latter is priced at 9/2 with bet365 to score first and looks good value at the price. Despite their strong performance last time out Stoke are not favoured to win the match at 12/5, whilst the Reds are a good proposition at 11/10.
The first round of fixtures is finished off by Manchester City travelling to West Brom for the 20:00 game on Monday with the Citizens looking to wrestle the title back from Chelsea in the new season. Manuel Pellegrini faced heavy criticism at the tail end of last season after a series of embarrassing away defeats, including a 4-2 loss to bitter city rivals Manchester United. With this being the case, the likes of Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany will have much to prove and will be looking for a comfortable victory at The Hawthorns. In the wake of his controversial move away from Liverpool, Raheem Sterling will be eager to please his new employers, and he’s 15/8 to find the net against West Brom. The Sky Blues are of course the favourites to wrestle victory here at 8/13 with bet365, whilst The Baggies are 17/4. In spite of this, Tony Pulis and his men are unlikely to go down without a fight and their defensive minded team may be able to keep City at bay with them missing key men Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Samir Nasri after a mysterious stomach bug struck the Citizens’ squad this week. New West Brom signing Rickie Lambert is likely to start on Monday and will be eager to get his tenure at West Brom off to a good start after a poor year at his boyhood club, Liverpool. He’s 10/1 to score first with bet365.