Arsenal will open the 2020/21 Premier League season on Saturday with a short trip across town to West London to face newly promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The 12:30PM kickoff sees Mikel Arteta’s side return to action after lifting the FA Cup just last month, following the coronavirus pandemic which forced the last season to be extended.
However, the Gunners will hope to begin the season on a bright note having completed the signings of defenders Pablo Mari and Gabriel Megalhaes from Flamengo and Lille respectively, while sealing another season-long load deal for midfielder Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.
Fulham, on their part, will hope they can sting their more illustrious visitors and begin their return to the Premier League with a win. However, the stats do not favour them.
In the last six meetings between both sides in all competitions, Arsenal have won five while the other one ended in a draw. Arsenal have also scored at least twice in four of those meetings.
The Gunners can be said to be in great form having beaten Chelsea to win the FA Cup and Liverpool to win the Community Shield, both inside the last two months.
Fulham, however, beat Brentford in the Championship playoff final game to secure a return to the Premier League.
In light of these, there is most likely going to be more than one goal in this fixture.
Betpay offers odds of 1.75 for both teams to score and odds of 4.25 for over 1.5 goals over both halves. With the expectation of more than one goal in this fixture, that represents a pretty high number.
PREDICTION: Fulham 1-3 Arsenal and Betpay offers odds of 1.55 for an Arsenal win, so you may want to stake on that.
Crystal Palace vs Southampton
Still in London, Crystal Palace welcome Southampton to Selhurst Park for their Premier League opener. Last season, Palace struggled at home as they collected 23 points from a possible 57 available and scored the fewest number of goals at home in the league with just 15. Although they merely conceded 20 goals, their poor scoring record resulted in plenty of dropped points. Betpay offers odds of 2.05 for under 1.5 goals at full time.
PREDICTION: Crystal Palace 0-0 Southampton and you can stake on odds of 3.20 for a draw on Betpay.
Liverpool vs Leeds
Elsewhere, Liverpool’s four season-opening Premier League matches played under Jürgen Klopp have been mainly successful (W3, D1), with all featuring at least four total goals (5.5 on average), and Liverpool scoring at least three goals. Two of those four were home matches, where Liverpool led by at least two goals at half time on both occasions.
Unbeaten in the last 59 PL matches held at Anfield (W48, D11), the ‘Reds’ are currently on a 17-match winning streak in the PL against newly promoted sides. Thirteen (76.47%) of those were won with at least a two-goal margin, and 12 were victories ‘to nil’. In ten of those wins, meanwhile, Liverpool were completely dominant from the off, leading at half-time and scoring in both halves.
Leeds United are back at the top level after 16 years of hurt, and as they did in 1990 (W 3-2), begin a top-flight campaign as newcomers on Merseyside. Ambitious under Marcelo Bielsa, they won the Championship in emphatic fashion, conceding the fewest goals of all (0.76 on average per match) and finished the season with six straight wins, across which they conceded just two goals.
Away from home, meanwhile, Leeds were the Championship’s top scorers with 1.61 goals scored per match.
This is surely a game that promises so much and expected goals and on Betpay, there are odds of 1.85 for both teams to score.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 3-2 Leeds. You can stake on Betpay for both teams to score over 1.5 goals with odds of 3.40 and a Liverpool win of 1.30.
West Ham vs Newcastle
Back to London, West Ham United will be hoping to improve upon their recent Premier League opening day record, having lost the curtain-raiser in each of their last four seasons, losing to-nil by 4+ goals on three occasions. However, they were fast starters overall last term, having outscored league opponents on a 4:1 ratio (GF 8, GA 2) inside the first 15 minutes of play.
Hammers boss David Moyes particularly loves facing Steve Bruce, as he has lost only two (W10, D7) of the previous 19 managerial H2H meetings. However, the Scotsman has only been successful in four of his last 12 meetings against Newcastle United (W4, D4, L4).
Newcastle have fared even worse in opening day fixtures, as it is seven without winning for the ‘Magpies’ (D1, L6). Five of the six defeats saw them fail to score. Scoring goals is an ongoing issue, as last season saw them finish as the PL’s fourth-lowest scorers. Furthermore, they failed to score in 34.21% of their league contests.
This looks like a low-scoring game if at all goals are to be recorded. Betpay has West Ham to win on 2.10 odds, a draw on 3.45 and a Newcastle win on 3.45.
PREDICTION: West Ham 1-0 Newcastle and you can find odds of 3.20 for under 1.5 goals.
West Brom vs Leicester
Off to the West Midlands we go where West Bromwich Albion have now achieved their fifth promotion to the Premier League – more than any other club – but if they wish to stay up they must improve on the league-high 26 points they dropped from winning positions during their last top-flight campaign.
The PL ‘newcomers’ will have to improve on their draw-rate too, after picking up 17 draws in the second-tier last term – more than any other side promoted to the PL since 1995/96. They have, however, drawn just one of their previous ten first home games of a new top-flight campaign (W4, D1, L5)
Leicester City have won their last four PL trips to this venue – their joint-best away H2H streak against any side in this competition – so will likely travel here with confidence. They are, however, winless in their last four opening away matches of a new league campaign (D1, L3), but did win two of their three PL away games against newly promoted opposition in 2019/20.
Tottenham vs Everton
With so little time from the end of the 2019-20 season to the start of this new campaign, it is unclear what shape the teams will be in heading into this contest, given the condensed pre-season schedule.
Of Tottenham’s four friendlies, they won their first three – beating Ipswich Town, Reading and Birmingham – before losing the final match 2-1 to Championship outfit Watford.
As for Everton, they have only had a couple of games to prepare for the new campaign, drawing with Blackpool before beating Preston North End, but there were positives to take from both encounters.
It would be no surprise to see both teams start the season slowly and with fans still not present at stadia, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of atmosphere may continue to have an impact on the players.
Of the last three meetings, two of those have ended in draws – 2-2 in May 2019 and 1-1 in November of the same year – and another share of the spoils could be on the cards this Sunday.
PREDICTION: Tottenham 1-1 Everton. Find odds of 3.65 for a draw on Betpay and 4.80 for over 1.5 goals.
Sheffield vs Wolves
Sheffield United have only managed to win one of their previous six maiden league matches of the season (D1, L4), which was also the only time they were leading at HT. Furthermore, only two of their first ten Premier League (PL) clashes last season featured over 2.5 goals, which has been the case in nine of the last 12 H2Hs too.
Chris Wilder’s side received a joint-league low one PL penalty last season, so they don’t get much help from officials. Two of the last four H2Hs saw a red card though, so the referee may well be busy here, although the ‘Blades’ ended last season receiving 2+ yellow cards in just one of their final four games.
Wolverhampton Wanderers travel here unbeaten in their opening league match since 2012/13 (W3, D4). They’ve only conceded one second-half goal during that time, but netted just three times after the 60th minutes themselves. Also, all three wins came by a one-goal margin.
The visitors haven’t scored in their last two visits to Bramall Lane (L2), and although they failed to score in five PL away fixtures last season, the other four came to top-five clubs. In fact, only three of their 15 PL victories last term came versus top-half opposition (D8, L7). However they usually finish games strongly, and Wolves possessed the third-best PL second-half record last season (SH: W18, D17, L3).
PREDICTION: Sheffield 1-1 Wolves. Betpay is offering odds of 2.95 for a draw and 6.75 for over 1.5 goals.
Brighton vs Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion have lost just one of their three opening home games of a new Premier League (PL) campaign (W1, D1, L1), which gives the ‘Seagulls’ at least one positive to cling onto as they hunt their first H2H win over Chelsea since 1933 (D2, L11 since).
Worryingly however, no team failed to score in more PL home games than Brighton in 2019/20 (seven), and they’re winless in their last eight PL home fixtures against teams that finished last season in the top five (D1, L7) – albeit the one positive result was a 1-1 versus Chelsea in the last H2H.
Such a low-scoring game was an anomaly for Chelsea though, who had a successful 2019/20 in front of goal with only Liverpool and Man City netting more than their 69 PL strikes. However their 54 goals conceded (1.42 on average per match) was Chelsea’s highest number since 1996/97!
Particular weak points included conceding 11 goals via headers – the most headed goals the ‘Blues’ have shipped since 2000/01 – and conceding more goals from corners (ten) than all sides bar relegated Norwich. Considering Chelsea’s last six first away games of a new PL season all featured over 2.5 goals, as well as their final seven PL road trips of last term, the visitors could start 2020/21 in a similar vein to where they left off.
PREDICTION: Brighton 0-3 Chelsea. A Chelsea win attracts odds of 1.65 for a Chelsea win and 2.55 for over 2.5 goals on Betpay.