It's the weekend we've all been waiting for, the opening weekend of the Premier League, Football League and also Ligue 1 in France. This season I'm going to offer weekly tips and I've picked three games for this weekend, one from Ligue 1 and two from the Premier League.
Nice vs Monaco: Monaco win @ 2.05
This is probably the most glamorous derby in the world, with two sides from the south of France meeting for their Ligue 1 opener. Monaco hammered Young Boys 7-1 on aggregate to reach the Champions League play offs where they’ll meet Valencia. Monaco have made some exciting signings and with a number of key players departing Lyon this summer they’ll fancy themselves as being PSG’s main rivals for the title. Monaco have won four of the last six meetings between the two including the same fixture last season. Having relied on a solid defence last season Monaco will look to be more expansive going forward this season, especially with the signings they’ve brought in. I think Monaco will be dark horses this season and can push PSG all the way, they’ll need to start with a win and should do so on Saturday.
Arsenal vs West Ham: Arsenal to win to nil @ 1.95
Arsenal have had a really impressive pre-season, winning all their games and conceding just one goal. Their performance in the Charity Shield has caused much optimism amongst Arsenal fans who feel they can offer a sterner challenge for the title this year. West Ham’s season started early because of their involvement in the Europa League, they lost on Thursday in Romania meaning they will not reach the group stage. West Ham fielded a youthful side on Thursday to have a full strength side for Sunday, there are issues up front with Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia both long term absentees. Arsenal have won the last six meetings between these two clubs and will be looking to get off to a winning start here. Given how strong Arsenal’s defence has looked and West Ham’s frailties up top I fancy Cech to keep a clean sheet on his debut too. (This is the same as Arsenal to win and BTTS: No, you might need to look for that instead!)
Newcastle vs Southampton: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.10
Newcastle look set to field a centre back pairing of Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor, which is calamitous to say the least. In pre-season the results haven’t been good for Steve McClaren and the defence has looked particularly shaky, but there are some positive going forward, most notably Wijnaldum looks like he should get a few goals. Southampton fielded a strong side in the Europa League on Thursday but won comfortably to advance to the next round. Southampton are a side who will score goals and seem to like doing so against Newcastle, scoring ten in their last three meetings. There have been at least three goals in four of the last six meetings between the two and with Newcastle’s defensive frailties I think we should see goals.
Statistics courtesy of whoscored.com
Odds correct at time of writing with Bet365