Top Tips for the Premier League Weekend
Posted on August 15, 2012 by Joe Plewes
Ninety-six days after Sergio Aguero waltzed through a despairing QPR rearguard to hand Manchester City their first league title since 1968, we’re ready to do it all over again. Euro 2012 was merely an aperitif, the Olympics our hors d’oevure. Bring on the main course. In the absence of recent form, this blog will take a look at opening day trends across the division in a bid to help you win that Gareth Bale signed shirt.
West Ham and Reading both have seemingly winnable games upon their return to the Premiership, at home to Aston Villa and Stoke City respectively. Both will hope to perform considerably better than the newly promoted sides last season, as QPR went down 4-0 at home to Bolton, Swansea lost a Monday night fixture to Man City 4-0 and Norwich weathered a late storm to earn a point against Wigan. Certainly the latter two performed rather more impressively over the course of the season than those opening weekend results suggest, but what about the Championship victors this time around?
Reading haven’t actually won on the opening day since 2006, when they saw off Middlesbrough at the Madejski Stadium. Since then they have mustered four draws and one loss, with two of those featuring no goals. Stoke aren’t exactly quick out of the blocks either, having won just once on opening day since they arrived back in the top flight. They drew 0-0 in their first fixture last season in a cagey opener against Chelsea, and with both sides looking to expel the early season nerves a low scoring draw might not be out of the question. On Oddslife the draw is @ 3.20, while Reading are @ 2.35 to continue Stoke’s poor record away from home (last season W4, D4, L11).
Swansea have lost their opening fixture six times in a row, stretching right back to an opening day win over Tranmere in the third tier! They face a QPR side who can just about point to home form as a reason they’re still in this division, having won five home games on the spin at the back end of last season. They beat Saturday’s opponents 3-0 at Loftus Road last April, and their record at home against the Welsh outfit is pretty fantastic; they have won eight and drawn nine of their seventeen league meetings! If you fancy QPR to uphold that brilliant record, they are priced @ 2.05 to get three points!
Steve Clarke will have to reverse West Brom’s opening day form if he is to guide his side to a victory against his former employers, Liverpool. The Hawthorns outfit have failed to win in their last five opening fixtures, even losing 6-0 away to Chelsea in 2010. The Black Country has been a relatively happy hunting ground for the reds too, having enjoyed dominant wins at the Hawthorns in the Premier League era (0-6, 0-5, 0-2, 0-2, 0-2), the only blip being a 2-1 loss in 2011. The Merseysiders may have been slow starters in recent years, having drawn home fixtures against both Sunderland and Arsenal in the last two seasons, but they’re comfortable favourites @ 1.95 on Oddslife.
Elsewhere, Fulham host Norwich City, Arsenal face Sunderland and Newcastle are in action against Spurs on Saturday, before Wigan play Chelsea and champions Manchester City take on new boys Southampton on Sunday. Finally, Manchester United travel to Goodison Park on Monday night as the two re-acquaint themselves following last April’s 4-4 draw.