Premier League Matchday 1 Preview – Prediction + Tips 2018/19

The wait is almost over. The Premier League is back with a bang on Friday night as Manchester United and Leicester kick off proceedings for the 2018/19 season. We can hardly wait!

Thankfully, waiting for the Premier League to start again throughout this summer wasn’t too hard, thanks to the enthralling FIFA World Cup. England’s exploits there will have kept most English football fans satisfied and meant the wait for the Premier League wasn’t too difficult. That said, Sunday’s Community Shield started the five-day countdown to the first match and – at our HQ at least – excitement is at fever pitch.

We shouldn’t put too much stock in the pre-season results, but things don’t look too rosey on the red side of Manchester, after some poor results and harsh words from the manager. The blue side, unsurprisingly, is much happier after easily winning the Community Shield. Manchester City are the bookie’s favourites to win the title once again and it’s difficult to see who will stop them. But, Liverpool have made some great signings, and are the team tipped to push City all the way. 

Over in London, it’s a new era at the Emirates, where Unai Emery takes over as Arsène Wenger’s reign comes to and end. There’s change at Stamford Bridge too, where Maurizio Sarri will see how long he can stay on Roman Abramovich’s good side. Of the new boys, Wolves look like the best placed to make an impact, although the goal of each will simply be to survive their first year in football’s top-flight.

So, without further ado, let’s start our first betting tips of the 2018/19 EPL season and bash the bookies once again!

Match of the Day

There is little doubt about the pick of the week’s fixtures. A fascinating spectacle awaits us at the Emirates on Sunday in the final fixture of the weekend, where a new-look Arsenal host champions Manchester City. 

Arsenal v Manchester City
Arsenal Form Guide DWDWD
Manchester City Form Guide DLWLW
  • Venue: The Emirates
  • Sunday 12 August 15:00
  • Referee: Michael Oliver
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 5/2  D: 13/5 A: 1/1

About the Game:

Unai Emery has never beaten his counterpart Guardiola in ten attempts. That doesn’t bode well for his first competitive match as Arsenal manager then, especially as Guardiola leads the fiersome Manchester City. But, what a chance he has to make his mark on a new era at the Emirates. Despite a poor season overall last year, Arsenal were strong at home, so fans will be hoping that something carries over from the Wenger era. 

Defending against Manchester City is usually the most difficult part, but it may be especially so for Arsenal here. Laurent Koscielny is out with an injury, as is Sead Kolasinac, who will miss around eight weeks after injuring his knee in a friendly last week. His replacement, Nacho Monreal, has just joined up with the squad after the World Cup, but he too is likely to miss out via injury. It could be a busy afternoon for new boy Lucas Torreira then, as he will be tasked with shielding the defence. Up-front is where Arsenal are most potent. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is sure to start, but the question is, will he be joined by Alexandre Lacazette, or will Emery be more cautious and employ an extra midfielder? One man sure to start is Mesut Özil. After stepping down from the national team, Arsenal are hoping he will step up and fulfill his potential for his club. This match last season was an absolute cracker of all-out attacking football. Let’s hope for more of the same.

Bet on the match of the week between Arsenal and Manchester City at Mr Green

There was something routine, yet ominous, about City’s Community Shield win against Chelsea on Sunday. While Chelsea were far from full strength, City too featured a number of youngsters, but they still never really looked in danger. The bookie’s favourites look like they will start where they left off last year and few will be willing to bet against them. 

City will also be without a few key players who are late joining up with the squad after the World Cup. Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are the two biggest likely absentees, but the depth of the squad means there is adequate cover. The signing of Riyad Mahrez has bolstered the attack even further. He is likely to start here, but it’s possible that the return of Benjamin Mendy from injury could be even more instrumental. Mendy played just four games last season and registered an assist before an injury ruled him out for the rest of the year. Sergio Agüero should get the nod over Gabriel Jesus after scoring a brace on Sunday and will be the biggest threat for the Arsenal backline.

Prediction: Over 2.5 goals – Arsenal are weakened in defence and City are the best team in the league at exploiting this. A win for the visitors is on the cards, but while both teams fine-tune their defences, we think goals are a safer bet.

Rest of the Premier League Games

The league starts with a Friday night fixture as Manchester United host Leicester. The action continues through to Sunday, where we’re in for a treat, as Liverpool host West Ham and Southampton face Burnley, before our match of the day rounds off the weekend.

Manchester United v Leicester
Manchester United Form Guide LLDWL
Leicester Form Guide DLDDW
  • Venue: Old Trafford
  • Friday 10 August 20:00
  • Referee: Andre Marriner
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 2/5 D: 10/3 A: 15/2

About the Game:

Jose Mourinho’s moaning has been perhaps the most consistent part of pre-season, as he continues to bemoan the lack of players available to him and almost everything else. United could find themselves in a spot of bother here though. Torrid pre-season performances don’t bode well for this match, while the injuries in defence are mounting up. Those injuries, plus the number of players unavailable after returning late from the World Cup, mean this will be far from a first-string side. 

Leicester have also only just welcomed back Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy. The Foxes have had some good results in pre-season and though little seems to have been done to plug a leaky defence, they will still fancy their chances. James Maddison is the man brought in to replace Riyad Mahrez, but he could miss out via a knock. 

Prediction: Over 2.5 goals – Despite Mourinho’s claims, he has a very impressive record in season opening matches and he will likely employ his park the bus approach.  

Newcastle v Tottenham
Newcastle Form Guide LLWDL
Tottenham Form Guide DLLDW
  • Venue: St James’ Park
  • Saturday 11 August 12:30
  • Referee: Martin Atkinson
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 12/5 D: 5/2 A: 21/20

About the Game:

Rafa Benitez says his team desperately need new signings if they are to compete once again this year, but it doesn’t look as though he will get his way. A season-ending injury to Florian Lejeune means the Magpies are very light in defence, while Newcastle have the toughest opening schedule out of any team, facing four of last season’s top six in the first five gameweeks. 

Harry Kane has vowed to be fit and available for this season opener, but he and other key players, like Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, could be unavailable. Nevertheless, Spurs can still field a strong team and should look to capitalise on a currently under-performing Newcastle.

Prediction: Tottenham win – Both manager and fans are unhappy once again at the Newcastle board, who have not put their hands in their pockets in the transfer window again.  

Bournemouth v Cardiff
Bournemouth Form Guide LDWWD
Cardiff Form Guide LLLDD
  • Venue: Vitality
  • Saturday 11 August 15:00
  • Referee: Kevin Friend
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 19/20 D: 5/2 A: 11/4

About the Game:

Bournemouth ended last season strongly and will look to maintain that form here. Facing the new boys is an ideal start and with the attacking power Bournemouth have – like Josh King and Callum Wilson – they should find the back of the net.

Cardiff qualified automatically after a great season last year. As is usually the case, they will be an unknown quantity in the Premier League, as the demands of the top flight are a lot different than the Championship. That said, Cardiff have a number of players with Premier League experience and they too can be dangerous going forward.

Prediction: Both teams to score – It’s difficult to predict how Cardiff will fare, but we do expect them to take a fearless approach, which likely result in goals at both ends.

Fulham v Crystal Palace
Fulham Form Guide WDDLD
Crystal Palace Form Guide LDLDW
  • Venue: Craven Cottage
  • Saturday 11 August 15:00
  • Referee: Mike Dean
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 5/4 D: 23/10 A: 11/5

About the Game:

Fulham earned promotion via the play-offs and having done some smart business over the summer, are expected to fare well by many. The pre-season results have been poor though, and with a number of new players arriving, it remains to be seen how they will fare. 

Roy Hodgson’s turn around of Crystal Palace appears to still be going. The Eagles have been magnificent in pre-season and they too have done some great business this summer. If they manage to keep hold of Wilfred Zaha and Hodgson can turn Benteke’s form around, then Palace can be genuine top ten contenders this season.

Prediction: Crystal Palace Over 1.5 team goals – Palace have been scoring for fun all summer and we expect them to grab the bull by the horns to avoid the nightmare start of last season. 

Huddersfield v Chelsea
Huddersfield Form Guide WLWWD
Chelsea Form Guide WDWLD
  • Venue: Kirklees Stadium
  • Saturday 11 August 15:00
  • Referee: Chris Kavanagh
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 9/2 D: 14/5 A: 8/13

About the Game:

Huddersfield were tipped for relegation by many last season but they managed to assure safety with games to spare. However, they will have to do it all over again and sometimes, the second time can be even harder. The pre-season has been good and most of the team is fit, meaning that the Terriers could once again be a surprise package.

There’s a new manager at Stamford Bridge, but he could do little to stop Manchester City lifting the Community Shield on Sunday. Chelsea were lacking many first-team players, most of which won’t feature here either. So it’s down to youngsters, such as Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has looked great in pre-season. Thibaut Courtois could still be on the way out of Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea should have enough to win this match.

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals – Chelsea will be more solid at the back compared with Sunday’s performance and Huddersfield’s famous inability to score goals could cost them here. 

Watford v Brighton
Watford Form Guide LLLLL
Brighton Form Guide DWDWW
  • Venue: Vicarage Road
  • Saturday 11 August 15:00
  • Referee: Jonathan Moss
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 6/5 D: 9/4 A: 23/10

About the Game:

Javi Gracia remains at the helm at Watford, who many expect to have a bumpy ride this season. The fixtures take a nasty turn for the Hornets after gameweek three, so they will need to try to get some points on the board as quickly as possible.

Brighton were perhaps the stand-out performers of the newly promoted teams last season. Chris Hughton is ready to do it all over again and some shrewd business means that Brighton could do even better. They do have injury concerns among their forwards though, which means new signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh could lead the line for this one.

Prediction: Brighton Draw no bet – A risky one, but we fancy Brighton to be reliable performers this season.

Wolves v Everton
Wolves Form Guide WDLDD
Everton Form Guide WWWLW
  • Venue: Molineux Stadium
  • Saturday 11 August 17:30
  • Referee: Craig Pawson
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 5/4 D: 23/10 A: 11/5

About the Game:

New boys Wolves should have no problems adapting to the demands of the Premier League. Utilising the connections of super agent Jorge Mendes, Wolves have forged a squad containing some world class talent. The experienced heads of Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio have been added to the ranks over the summer, meaning Wolves could be a threat to any team.

Marco Silva finally landed the job at Goodison this summer, but Everton’s fortunes have not turned yet. Pre-season performances and results have been a shambles, and Silva will quickly need to sort things out at the back. It’s rumoured that Everton are close to signing Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who would help bolster the leaky Everton defence.

Prediction: Wolves win – Another risky one, but we expect Wolves to hit the ground running against an Everton who still need to learn to play the Silva way.

Liverpool v West Ham
Liverpool Form Guide DDWDW
West Ham Form Guide WWLWD
  • Venue: Anfield
  • Sunday 12 August 13:30
  • Referee: Anthony Taylor
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 1/4 D: 17/4 A: 12/1

About the Game:

Liverpool have made perhaps the most astute business of the top six teams over the summer and have no excuses not to be serious title challengers. It’s one match at a time though and their first one could be a tricky encounter. West Ham are the visitors, but with an almost fully fit squad to choose from, Klopp should win this one.

The Hammers too have done some great business over the summer with some marque signings that have finally shown the owners are willing to put their hands in their pockets. West Ham face a terribly difficult opening nine weeks however, facing all of last season’s top six in that time. This is one of the most difficult and few will be expecting West Ham to leave Anfield with anything.

Prediction: Mohamed Salah anytime goalscorer – Salah might not break records like last yea, but he will still score plenty, starting as he means to go on right here.

Southampton v Burnley
Southampton Form Guide DDWLL
Burnley Form Guide LWDLL
  • Venue: St Marys’
  • Sunday 12 August 13:30
  • Referee: Graham Scott
  • Quick Glance OddsH: 8/11 D: 5/2 A: 4/1

About the Game:

Southampton needed until the penultimate game of the season to secure safety last year. Bouncing back to the levels of seasons gone by will not be easy and the Saints could be in for another tough ride. Burnley are a tricky opponent and Mark Hughes could be in for another difficult year.

Sean Dyche has done an incredible job at Burnley, taking them to the top domestic league and now the Europa League. We all know the implications the Europa has on domestic performances for mid-table sides, but Burnley should still be a force to be reckoned with in the league, especially over the coming weeks before the European competitions begin.

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals – Burnley have some key absentees through injury, so this could be a tight and even dull affair.

Combi bet of the day: Our Pick*

Game Event Odds Cumulative Odds
Arsenal v Manchester City Over 2.5 goals 8/15 1.5
Bournemouth v Cardiff  Both teams to score 19/20 2.98
Liverpool v West Ham Mohamed Salah anytime scorer 5/2 10.56
Wolves v Everton  Wolves win 5/4 23.54
Southampton v Burnley Under 2.5 goals 13/20 38.85

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Bookie of the week: Our Pick

Mr Green are our bookie of the week. To find out all you need to know about Mr Green you can read our Mr Green review.

* All our selections are provided for entertainment only and should only be used for informational purposes. Whilst we use our experience and knowledge to help inform you to make a considered bet, we are not responsible for any losses that may arise from actual results being different than predicted.

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EPL 2018/19 betting tips and previews matchday 1

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