After a summer of soccer in Russia, it's back to business in the EPL. Fans across the country, even the world, will be asking the same questions. Have they made the right signings? Do the managers have the right tactics? How will the team perform? We've done some analysis to attempt to answer some of those questions ahead of the season starting:
And remember that all new customers get a Risk Free Bet on EPL matches. Otherwise, dive in to our opening weekend betting guide to the EPL.
If ever a tie in the EPL summed up, “What might have been”, this is it. In Rafael Benitez, Newcastle United have a manager with the tactical acumen to consistently work wonders. Any other manager, a certain Manchester United one comes to mind, would have walked away months ago based on the lack of transfer activity. The likely matchday squad will include several players that played in the Championship two years ago. Though in Jonjo Shelvey, they at least have someone to change games by himself. Considering the newly promoted teams have spent big, this could be another nail-biting season for the Geordies.
|Newcastle Key Player||Tottenham Key Player|
|Jonjo Shelvey||Jan Vertonghen|
Spurs, replete with a new stadium, must be working frantically behind the scenes to get some signings through the door. At least that’s the explanation most will be clinging to. Even someone as shrewd a negotiator as Daniel Levy must recognise the danger of starting the season without any improvements to the squad. Though Harry Kane will be buoyed by his World Cup scoring exploits, it’ll count for nothing if he starts the season as slowly as normal. It will be up to the rest of the squad to chip in. With Jan Vertonghen a rock in defence, they should be able to keep Newcastle at bay. And at least Son Heung-Min had an extended break over the summer after South Korea crashed out of the World Cup.
The last time Wolverhampton played in the EPL, they finished rock bottom with 25 points. A record that puts them in the top ten worst teams in the league history. So a few years ago you’d have been laughed out of town by saying this had the potential to be one of the most exciting matches in the EPL opening weekend. But as Manchester City and Chelsea fans know, money can change everything in soccer. Wolverhampton, are a club transformed from that hugely underwhelming campaign in 2011. And through their connection with Jorge Mendes, walked the Championship last year. Wolves have already added some impressive names for this campaign: Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio. The West Midlands isn't exactly continental Europe when it comes to the weather, but the Manager, Nuno Espirito Santo will be hoping his side can bring their exciting football to the EPL.
|Everton Key Player||Wolves Key Player|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson||Rui Patricio|
The last time players this good went to an underperforming side, Mascherano and Tevez turned up at West Ham. And that didn't go too well. It’s unthinkable that players of this calibre would have joined without the Mendes connection, but fans won’t mind as long as the goals come. Everton have been busy over the summer. New manager, Marco Silva cleared out some underperforming players and has reunited himself with Richarlison, the Brazilian attacker he signed at Watford. He'll be hoping he can quickly form a decent partnership with Gylfi Sigurdsson. In adding Lucas Digne from Barcelona, they’ve given some much needed defensive support on the flanks. Again, the money flowing in to Goodison Park will have fans dreaming of challenging for European football.
Two teams that look to have had the most productive summer for transfers. But for differing reasons. Liverpool have shored up their defence by adding some Brazilian steel to their ranks. Allison and Fabinho are the men tasked with reducing the amount of high profile goals conceded. The list of attacking players at Jürgen Klopp's displosal are one of the reasons they've been backed so strongly in our sportsbook: Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri are the new additions to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
But as any soccer fan will tell you, preseason can only inform you so much. West Ham fans will have been ecstatic they finally have a manager capable of coaching the style of soccer they yearn for.
|Liverpool Key Player||West Ham Key Player|
|Mohamed Salah||Felipe Anderson|
Since moving into the Olympic Stadium they’ve played a drab, defensive style of football that nearly got them relegated. Manuel Pellegrini looks set to change that. The team have several creative players now. And for once look to have broken their club record for an outstanding player. Felipe Anderson could bring the kind of attacking drive they’ve missed since Dmitiri Payet returned to Marseille. And in Andriy Yarmolenko they have a winger who will give the Liverpool fullbacks a stern test. This match could go one of two ways - a six or seven goal thriller or a tightly contested match with only a single goal in it.
A tale of two managers in this clash. One, newly in the job and embarking on a new era for the club. The other, riding high but dealing with ever higher expectations. With Wenger finally out, the disquiet among Arsenal fans has abated. For how long? The results will decide that. They’ve made some interesting but necessary deals in the transfer window. Bernd Leno gives them additional options in goal, Petr Cech looked a player that needs someone to push him after several high-profile errors last season. While Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichsteiner will provide decent defensive cover. Can Henrikh Mkhitaryan step up? Mesut Özil could use someone to take the spotlight away for a while.
|Arsenal Key Player||Man City Key Player|
|Henrikh Mkhitaryan||Leroy Sané|
The talk over the summer has been whether Unai Emery’s tactics will allow Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to flourish. Neither had terrible seasons last year but considering the fanfare that met their arrival, they certainly haven’t set a high bar. Arsenal fans will be hoping for a dream start to the season and hoping Wenger doesn’t have the last laugh. By their standards, it’s been a fairly quiet window for Manchester City, the Riyad Mahrez saga drew to a close only for the player to hobble off the pitch in preseason. Recent addition, Phillipe Sandler looks set to provide defensive back up in the league cup games rather than challenge for a starting berth in the EPL. However with the return of Benjamin Mendy from a lengthy injury spell and in Leroy Sané, a player with a lot to prove after missing the World Cup, it's no surprise they're favourites to win the league.
Predict the results and win prizes
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