Yes, the start of the 2020/21 season is already here and you know this season will be extremely different from the last. We’ll have no crowds to start with, a September start and the shortest break between this season and the last. Preparations have been limited without the traditional summer break which can impact a team’s training schedule, fitness levels and overall unity.
Due to the short gap between the seasons, you would expect last season’s end-of-season form to be a good indicator of who will start the season brightest.
Liverpool’s lost edge
Liverpool wowed us all last season, blowing any form of opposition away, securing their first Premier League title in the quickest time ever. They dazzled at the start but late losses to Manchester City (4-0) and Arsenal (2-1) showed chinks in the armor. The Community Shield did not showcase the true Liverpool, but the loss on penalties did reveal a loss of momentum.
On top of that, they face an eager and hungry Leeds United on the opening day. On paper Liverpool are huge favourites. They are the defending champions after all and are playing at home. However, with a draw priced at 6.10, punters might be tempted to give Leeds a chance of stealing the show.
Correct score: Liverpool 1-1 Leeds: 10.50*
Both teams possess plenty of firepower, so picking Both Teams to Score feels like a good option. Liverpool’s usual trio of Mane, Firmino and Salah can hardly ever be silenced. With Leeds averaging 1.67 goals per game in last season’s Championship, you feel there is a goal in them at Anfield. United splashed big cash on Rodrigo, who was signed for a club-record €29 million and big things are expected from Bielsa’s men.
Both Teams to Score: 1.94*
Arsenal for the win
Arsenal have been doing everything right of late. After a superb end to the season with the FA Cup triumph and the Community Shield adding to Arteta’s shine. With a new deal in place for Aubamayang and a decent transfer window behind them, it’s hard to imagine them slipping in the season’s opening game, Saturday’s early kick-off at Fulham.
They have good momentum and all the news coming out of the club seems healthy and positive, with the Arteta effect in full swing.
Correct score: Fulham 0-2 Arsenal: 8.0*
We hate seeing draws on opening day, but given the lack of preparation time, you tend to feel a cagey start might be on the cards for a host of clubs. These four fixtures could be good candidates for a draw:
- West Ham v Newcastle
- Sheffield United v Wolves
- Tottenham v Everton
- Crystal Palace v Southampton
You can group these in an accumulator, selecting four draws: 110.7*
Monday Night Football
Keeping an eye on the action on Monday night should be fun, as big spenders Chelsea travel to Brighton. Frank Lampard has hoovered up his transfer targets and is still eyeing one or two more additions. Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Maland Sarr and Thiago Silva have all joined together with the talented Kai Havertz.
They pack a strong punch going forward but look quite brittle at the back.
Over 2.5 goals: 1.75*
Manchester United and Manchester City will not take part in the opening weekend, as their fixtures have been postponed due to their prolonged European campaigns.
*Note: All odds subject to change