With the new Premier League season beginning imminently, there are several early games that have the potential to be good fits for those who want to place a bet of ‘Over 3.5 goals’.
Everton’s pre-season has been shocking by any standard. Though his preparations have been mitigated by the World Cup, Marco Silva looks no nearer to patching up the Toffees’ leaky defence than his predecessor Sam Allardyce did. Wolves are relatively unburdened by expectation, and aided by a raucous atmosphere at Molineux, have the potential to destroy the Everton backline.
Nonetheless, Everton boast something that Wolves don’t have, namely a £50m attacker called Richarlison, who has been the sole bright spot in the Toffees’ poor preseason. Though defensive reinforcements will come in time, Everton’s only option is to outscore Wolves as the situation stands. Though Everton’s overall play is disjointed, the presence of Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott in the final third will be daunting for a Wolves side that has a manager in the same attack-minded mould as Silva.
Diogo Jota will be a menace from the first whistle, when Wolves welcome Everton to Molineux.
Week 2 – Crystal Palace v Liverpool
Selhurst Park under the lights cannot fail to give Liverpool fans flashbacks to 2014, when Brendan Rodgers’ men surrendered a 3-0 lead to drop two points, ultimately costing them the title. It illustrated the best and the worst of Liverpool, but this one should be different. Liverpool have looked more defensively solid with Virgil Van Dijk in defence, and next season he will be backed by Allison in goal, as Jurgen Klopp forges a spine within the team that was absent until the autumn of 2017.
Crystal Palace’s hopes of a result here will, as usual, hinge on the ability of Wilfred Zaha to use his trickery and break through the defence. After a relatively quiet summer at Selhurst Park, the latest football betting odds have the Eagles priced at just 5/1 to go down, and relying solely on Zaha to beat a team of Champions League finalists is unwise. However, defending set pieces remains one of Liverpool’s chief issues of concern. Thus, although a Liverpool win is the expected outcome here, the Over/Under goals market will still be a popular draw for punters.
Late panics, such as those seen in the Champions League semi-final against Roma, are the only thing stopping Liverpool from being as feared as they were in the 1970s and 80s.
Week 3 – Arsenal v West Ham
The presence of Unai Emery on the home touchline at the Emirates Stadium will take some getting used to. So too will the plethora of signings he has made, and a few defensive lapses are inevitable as the squad gels over the first two months of the season. With matches against champions Manchester City and local rivals Chelsea, Emery has a tough start on his hands.
Manuel Pellegrini, now manager of West Ham, has enjoyed an excellent summer in terms of transfers. The arrivals of Andriy Yarmolenko and Anderson will give the Hammers’ midfield an air of menace distinctly lacking under previous regimes. As ever, Arsenal will be natural favourites to win this one, but a clean sheet is far from guaranteed. At present, it all hinges on just how quickly Yarmolenko can build the telepathic relationship with Anderson needed to breach the Gunners’ backline.