In Saturday’s televised encounter, it could be a losing start to life at Spurs for Andre Villas-Boas, whose side are 8/5 via Ladbrokes to go down at Newcastle. Bet365 make it 12/5 to end all square but in what looks a tight one to predict, it might be worth siding with last season’s prolific Papiss Cisse who is a very enticing 6/1, also at bet365, to break the deadlock.
Roberto Mancini has cut a frustrated figure over the summer, bemoaning the fact that he hasn’t been able to strengthen his Manchester City squad as he would’ve liked. Recent capture Jack Rodwell is the only significant addition to the champions’ ranks but they nevertheless remain favourites at 13/10 with Ladbrokes to retain the Premier League crown won in such dramatic fashion back in May.
City start their defence at home to top flight new boys Southampton and as Mancini’s charges dropped just two points on their own patch last season, it’s understandable that BetVictor make them such overwhelming favourites at 1/5.
Saints are a massive 18/1 with Skybet to stun the hosts and 7/1 via bet365 to grab an unlikely share of the spoils but while Nigel Adkins’ enthusiastic side will come flying out of the blocks on the opening day, the extra quality is with City, who have to be considered a home banker.
Nevertheless, in their first game back at this level, the visitors will be no pushovers and despite Mancini’s men putting promoted opposition to the sword on the opening day last term, on this occasion Southampton could run City pretty close at the Etihad Stadium, where Stan James price the home side at 10/3 to prevail by a one-goal margin.
Sergio Aguero meanwhile, heads the betting to notch first, at 11/4 courtesy of BetVictor but Yaya Toure, who found the net in Sunday’s Community Shield, has enjoyed a productive pre-season and could be too much for Saints to handle. The Ivorian powerhouse is 7/1 (William Hill) to break the deadlock and an even more enticing 2/1 with Stan James to strike at any stage.
Manchester United face, on paper, a tougher start to the season as they visit Everton on Monday but Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are still odds-on at 10/11 (Paddy Power) to get the better of the notoriously slow-starting Toffees. The Red Devils grabbed the only goal in the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park last season and with David Moyes’ resilient side likely to make life difficult for the visitors bet365’s 6/1 for another 1-0 away win isn’t without appeal.
At the DW Stadium, William Hill post a safe-looking 8/15 against Chelsea, who should have too much for Wigan and North London’s Arsenal should fare much better as they entertain Sunderland and Paddy Power’s 2/5 jollies look decent value in the handicaps, where Stan James price the Gunners at 11/10 to cover a goal start.
Elsewhere, bet365 quote Liverpool at even money to edge out West Brom at the Hawthorns, Skybet rate Fulham at a generous 5/6 to send potential strugglers Norwich home empty-handed and at Loftus Road, the draw is the eye catching wager at 5/2 with bet365 as QPR and Swansea lock horns. A stalemate, priced by Skybet at 12/5 could also be on the cards as promoted West Ham tackle Aston Villa while Coral chalk the Hammers’ fellow new boys Reading up at 7/5 to defeat a Stoke team that struggled badly on the road last season.