The English Premier League season kicks off tonight and former EPL Superbru global champion Gary Lemke will be writing exclusively for GGGaming and providing his input.
Last season was strange for a variety of reasons, with Covid-19 restrictions and VAR playing major parts in the results. Especially for the first half of the season there were a string of upsets, along with high scorelines. There were also a particularly high number of penalties awarded.
VAR came under the spotlight due to a number of ridiculous decisions, where players were having perfectly good goals ruled out because they might have had a finger that was ruled offside, or handballs given as penalties when it was a clear situation of ball to hand.
Also, the lack of crowds due to the Covid restrictions meant that a lot of games had a training ground feel to them. There were lots of goals, lot of upsets.
However, once things settled a bit the cream rose to the top and Manchester City ran away with the title, while Sheffield United, Fulham and West Brom fell into the Championship. Only Leeds, of the three promoted sides, stayed up and that has become a trend in the EPL.
Therefore I expect at least one, perhaps two, of the promoted sides to go straight back down – this time the three clubs are Brentford, Norwich and Watford. They just don’t have the strength in quality to handle 38 games at this level, although they can still knock over. few fancied teams on their day.
Here’s my pre-season look at various categories and which you will do well to keep in mind when making your selections and bets:
Champions: I can’t look past Manchester City and Chelsea when it comes to teams raising the trophy at the end of the season.
Champions League (top 4) places: Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool
Places 5-9: Leicester, Everton, Tottenham, Aston Villa, West Ham
Places 10-15: Arsenal, Leeds, Brighton, Newcastle, Wolves, Watford
Places 16-20: Crystal Palace, Brentford, Norwich, Burnley, Southampton
This week’s games and predictions:
Brentford 0 Arsenal 2
Man United 2 Leeds 1
Leicester 2 Wolves 1
Chelsea 2 Crystal Palace 0
Watford 0 Aston Villa 1
Everton 2 Southampton 0
Burnley 0 Brighton 0
Norwich 1 Liverpool 3
Newcastle 1 West Ham 1
Tottenham 1 Man City 2
Suggested round 1 all to come (3.88/1): Wins for Leicester, Manchester United, Everton
14.14/1 all to come: Wins for Arsenal, Leicester, Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool