The Palmerbet Team’s EPL Preview breaks down each game from the opening week of the 2018-19 season, including defending champs Manchester City’s blockbuster against Arsenal and first-up assignments for promoted clubs Wolverhampton, Cardiff City and Fulham.
History: Played 126: Man United 64 V Leicester 33 (29 Draws).
Last meeting: December 23, 2017 (EPL): 2-2 draw at King Power Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Leicester City open the EPL season against a heavyweight for the second year in a row – beating Arsenal 4-3 last year – and bring some decent pre-season form into their daunting trip to Old Trafford, including a victory over Lille on the weekend.
Second last season, Manchester United shape as one of archrivals City’s biggest challengers again this year. Mourinho’s men beat Real Madrid in late-July but lost to Liverpool and Bayern either side.
Leicester have won just one of their last 20 against Man United. The Red Devils won 2-0 at home last season before Harry Maguire’s 90th-minute goal snatched a point for the Foxes at King Power Stadium.
Leicester’s last victory at Old Trafford was more than 20 years ago. It’s hard to back United with confidence at such short odds but the overs looks a sound play.
History: Played 158: Tottenham 68 V Newcastle 58 (32 Draws).
Last meeting: May 9, 2018 (EPL): Tottenham 1 d Newcastle 0 at Wembley Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Newly promoted last season, Newcastle overachieved by finishing in the top half and establishing themselves as a gritty defensive side. Goals were an issue though, averaging a shade over one per game.
Tottenham landed third last season and will be desperate to cash in on their unbridled potential. The presence of England World Cup hero Harry Kane certainly helps
Newcastle have managed five wins in their last 11 clashes with Tottenham, but Spurs won both encounters last season – 2-0 at St James’ Park and 1-0 at Wembley.
The Magpies were a tough beat at home last week but their pre-season form has been worrying. Tottenham should get away with the three points.
History: Played 43: Bournemouth 18 V Cardiff 14 (11 Draws).
Last meeting: March 17, 2015 (Championship): 1-1 draw at Cardiff City Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Cardiff City suit up for just their second EPL season, having enjoyed a one-year stay back in 2013-14. They came second in the Championship last year to seal their promotion but haven’t added many players of note.
Bournemouth stayed up with a 12th-place finish in the EPL last season, climbing with wins in their last two games. They are tipped to contend for relegation this year.
Cardiff have won three of their last five at Vitality Stadium, but Bournemouth had a decent record of seven wins and five draws in 19 home games last season.
As biggish outsiders, we like Cardiff’s chances of at least snatching a point amid the excitement of a return to the big boys’ league.
History: Played 43: Fulham 17 V Crystal Palace 11 (15 Draws).
Last meeting: May 11, 2014 (EPL): 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.
Final Thoughts: Fulham are back in the EPL for the first time since their 13-season run ended in 2013, finishing third in the Championship last season. They’ve bought well for their return to the big time.
Last year was a rollercoaster for Palace but they ultimately finished 11th after a late surge that netted five wins in the last eight weeks of the season.
Palace have not won at Craven Cottage since 1986 and boast just one victory in their last eight clashes with Fulham. After a 3-0 loss to promoted Huddersfield last season, Palace won’t be taking Fulham lightly and there’s significant value in the visitors as underdogs here.
History: Played 66: Chelsea 29 V Huddersfield 27 (10 Draws).
Last meeting: May 9, 2018 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Final Thoughts: Huddersfield survived their first season back in the Premier League last year by finishing four points clear of the bottom three. Most are tipping they won’t be able to avoid the drop this time around, however.
Chelsea endured a disappointing title defence and ultimately finished fifth. Consequently, Antonio Conte was punted as manager in favour of Maurizio Sarri – but he has only been in the seat for four weeks.
Huddersfield have won just one of their last 14 against Chelsea, but they did manage a draw at Stamford Bridge late last season. Chelsea prevailed 3-1 in their encounter at John Smith’s Stadium.
Expect a slow start to the season for Chelsea, who crashed 2-0 to Man City in the Community Shield last weekend, with Town a big chance of a boilover at home.
History: Played 112: Brighton 44 V Watford 35 (33 Draws).
Last meeting: December 23, 2017 (EPL): Brighton 1 d Watford 0 at Amex Stadium.
Final Thoughts: After a bright start, Watford slumped to 14th last season and are the hot tip to face the Championship drop. A lack of firepower is at the forefront of the Hornets’ issues.
Promoted Brighton managed to stay up despite winning just one of their last nine games last season. They’re another side with goalscoring problems, ranking third-last in the league (34 goals).
Brighton ended a six-match winless run against Watford with a 1-0 victory at home last season. They are hunting their first win at Vicarage Road since 2012.
It’s a great opportunity for both unfancied outfits to grab some early-season momentum but a low-scoring draw shapes as the most likely outcome.
Tip: Draw @ $3.20
History: Played 130: Everton 60 V Wolverhampton 44 (26 Draws).
Last meeting: May 6, 2012 (EPL): 0-0 draw at Molineux Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Wolverhampton dominated the Championship last season with a 30W-9D-7L record to win promotion for the first time since their 2009-12 EPL tenure. The club has made some exciting signings and is expected to be the strongest of the promoted clubs.
Stability will be the keyword at Everton after they had three managers last season. Sam Allardice ultimately guided them to safety but left the club and has been replaced by Marco Silva. They face an uphill battle to reclaim their top-six contender status after a quiet transfer window.
Wolves have won just one of their last 10 encounters with Everton, though four of the last six finished in a draw.
With a baying home crowd behind them, we like the prospects of a winning return to the Premier League for Wolverhampton.
History: Played 137: Liverpool 73 V West Ham 28 (36 Draws).
Last meeting: February 24, 2018 (EPL): Liverpool 4 d West Ham 1 at Anfield.
Final Thoughts: Fourth last season, Liverpool are second favourites behind Man City in the EPL futures market. The Reds have bought well in the midfield to back up their prolific front three.
West Ham finished 13th last season with 10 wins but will be confident of a surge up the ladder after an off-season spending spree, headlined by Jack Wilshire.
Liverpool powered to 4-1 wins at home and away against West Ham last season – after going winless in the previous five clashes between the clubs. Incredibly, Hammers have won just one of their last 54 games at Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are the shortest favourites of Week 1 by a mile and we’re keen to take a promising West Ham outfit with a big start.
EPL History: Played 56: Burnley 21 V Southampton 20 (15 Draws).
Last meeting: February 24, 2018: 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.
Final Thoughts: Southampton finished 17th last season, barely surviving the drop thanks to a couple of late clutch wins. It was a disappointing decline for the top-half regulars, however, and Mark Hughes is under pressure to take the Saints back to the mid-table realm.
Burnley were the surprise packet of the 2017-18 EPL, finished seventh with a 14-12-12 record. Their defence was excellent – conceding just 39 goals – but that was counterbalanced by just 36 goals in the ‘for’ column, 15th in the league.
Burnley won 1-0 at Southampton last season – ending a four-game losing streak for the club at St Mary’s Stadium – before being held to a 1-1 draw at home in the return clash. Seven of the teams’ last eight league meetings have produced less than 2.5 goals.
Southampton are strong favourites at home and based on last season’s form Burnley are very tough to resist.
Tip: Burnley Win @ $4.50
EPL History: Played 194: Arsenal 96 V Man City 53 (45 Draws).
Last meeting: March 1, 2018 (EPL): Man City 3 d Arsenal 0 at Emirates Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Manchester City demolished every record going last season, winning 32 and losing just two of their 38 games to become the first team ever to rack up 100 points in the EPL. They went unbeaten through the first 22 weeks of the season – held to a draw just twice – and they are short-priced favourites to take out the prize again.
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger era came to an end after the Gunners finished sixth, conceding 51 goals. Unai Emery is the new manager and while the fresh approach should prove a positive, there’s bound to be a few teething problems.
Man City have won their last three games against Arsenal by a combined 9-1, including a 3-0 drubbing at the Emirates in March.
City’s impressive 2-0 Community Shield win over Chelsea suggested they are primed to get off to another flyer this season and Arsenal have drawn the short straw having to play the ruthless defending champs first up.