The first day of the new Premier League season is often nerve-racking for players, managers, chairmen and fans alike – and with good reason!
Everyone wants to get off to a good start, but the men on the pitch can be a little tentative, which sometimes results in scoreless or low-scoring or games.
Take last season, for example. Of the nine opening fixtures, three were goalless, while another two matches finished 1-1. However, two games finished 4-0, as some teams come out of the blocks faster than others.
Some of this weekend’s fixtures suggest that there could be a few tight contests.
For example, newly-promoted West Ham are pretty tight at the back, while opponents Aston Villa are a little short of flair and attacking firepower. A 1-1 draw at odds of 11/2 looks pretty enticing.
The game between Reading and Stoke City has the potential to be a bore draw, with odds of 8/1 on offer for a 0-0 result.
At the other end of the scale, champions Manchester City will want to get off to a winning start against another newly-promoted side in Southampton. A 4-1 win at 14/1 represents pretty good value.
Title rivals Arsenal, meanwhile, have spent heavily this summer, but they face a trickier task against the defensively resolute Sunderland. A narrow 1-0 victory for the Gunners is available at 11/2.
As for the total number of goals scored on the opening day, previous seasons show a number of interesting stats.
A total of 18 goals were scored on the opening weekend last season, the lowest total to date, although it was equalled in 1998 and 1999.
The highest opening weekend goal tally since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 was 36, which was achieved at the start of the 2003/04 season.
If you’re looking to bet on the amount of goals scored on the opening weekend, you could look at betting on there being over 30. In six of the 20 previous Premier League seasons, more than 30 goals have been scored on the opening day.
However, if you think goals will be scarce this weekend, then you should know that 20 goals or less have been scored on the opening day of four seasons.
While many of the games are tight, and are either low-scoring draws or games won by a one-goal margin, there always seems to be the odd one-sided result. Last season saw eventual champions City thrash Swansea 4-0, while Bolton saw off QPR by the same score.