Pete O’ Rourke delivers his Pick 4 Rollover Preview for Colossus Bets. Join his Syndicate here.
Arsenal v Leicester
Arsenal and Leicester get the new Premier League season underway on Friday night and it gives both sides the chance to put down a marker for the campaign.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be desperate to get off to a winning start at the Emirates to avoid any unrest among the Gunners faithful as they look to get back in the top four next season
This is the sixth time in a row that Arsenal have started a new campaign with a home game and their record will give Leicester hope that they can spring a shock against the Gunners as they have won just one of those six games and lost three.
Arsenal lost just two games on home soil last season, while Leicester’s away form was among the worst in the league after picking up two just victories on their travels.
Arsenal with new striker Alexandre Lacazette among their ranks have the quality to get off to a winning start, but Leicester will not make things easy for them.
Watford v Liverpool
Liverpool will be aiming to make another strong start to the season away to Watford as they look to mount a challenge for the Premier League title.
Watford endured a horrible end to last season with six straight defeats and Marco Silva has been brought in to transform the Hornets’s fortunes. Silva impressed during his short time in charge of Hull and he did mastermind a 2-0 home win over Liverpool during his stint at the KCOM Stadium.
These are the types of games that Liverpool have slipped up in during previous seasons and although they have looked lively in attack in pre-season there are still question marks surrounding their defensive qualities.
Liverpool lost just four games on their travels last season, while Watford recorded eight wins from their 19 games at Vicarage Road last season.
Liverpool beat Watford at Vicarage Road 1-0 at the back end of last season thanks to Emre Can’s wonder goal, but you just never know what Liverpool side will turn up as they struggled against sides in the bottom half of the table last term.
Everton v Stoke
There is real growing optimism around Everton this season that they could challenge the top four after a busy summer in the transfer window and they be hoping to continue that feel-good factor against Stoke City at Goodison Park.
Everton finished seventh in Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge and the aim will be to improve on that this season and make inroads into the top four despite the loss of last season’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku.
Everton enjoyed the fourth best home record in the Premier League last season and they need Goodison Park to be a fortress again if they are to close the gap on their rivals at the top end of the table.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes is a man under pressure after a below-par campaign last term saw Stoke finish in 13th spot – their first bottom half finish since 2013.
Hughes is the favourite to be the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season and he would dearly love a win at Everton to ease any pressure on his shoulders.
Stoke have been slow starters in the last two seasons picking up a combined three points from their first five games in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns and taking into consideration Everton’s fine home form of last season the hosts should take the spoils on Merseyside.
Brighton v Man City
Title favourites Manchester City put their credentials on the line against new boys Brighton and Pep Guardiola’s men should have enough quality to ensure it is a tough baptism of fire for Chris Hughton’s side.
Brighton enjoyed a very strong home record in the Championship last season, but coming up against the best players in the world in the Premier League is a whole different matter.
City underachieved last season under Guardiola and they have spent big this summer to address their weaknesses and after getting used to the Premier League Guardiola will know what it takes to go all the way this season.
City enjoy a good record against newly-promoted sides in recent seasons and they look banker material to get their campaign off to a winning start against a Brighton side who have surprisingly not done as much business in the transfer market as many expected.
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