Manchester United visit Goodison Park rejuvenated by a transfer campaign in which no first-team players exited and arguably the Premier League and Bundesliga’s prize assets – Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa – were added.
For Everton, there was more to celebrate than usual too with Steven Pienaar, Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas signed, albeit the latter too late to participate in Monday’s match. Midfielders Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill both left.
Depending on how much you read into matchday one records in seasons gone by, you can swiftly assemble a case for backing Manchester United at 17/20.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have started each of the last three with a win, and indeed five of the last seven dating back to a 2-0 victory at Everton in 2005/06. The hosts have lost their last four openers, suffering three of those defeats at home.
Another reason to favour the away team is their head-to-head advantage in the fixture, which is retained despite the manner in which David Moyes’ men troubled them at Old Trafford in April, clawing a way back from 4-2 down.
Manchester United have been beaten on only one of their last seven trips to Goodison Park and have triumphed on four of those even though Ferguson regularly highlights this as one of the toughest games on the calendar.
Everton failed to score in their last two curtain-raising clashes and their guests have shut out the opposition in three of their last five, so 13/8 on the Manchester United clean sheet and 9/4 on them winning to nil both appeal.
It could also prove shrewd to avoid the obvious in the first goalscorer market because while all the attention surrounds van Persie (9/2) and Ferguson’s wealth of attacking options, a striker has struck first in just one of their last five away outings.
Shinji Kagawa (8/1), Antonio Valencia (12/1) and returning captain Nemanja Vidic (28/1) are three options to consider.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.