Yes, the Premier League is back – but we’re talking about the grand return of the monumental Saturday Footy Treble of course!
Obviously, it’s brilliant to have it back, even if it only feels like five minutes since it finished back in May.
Let’s hope we can start the season off with a win!
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Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
Our first pick comes from the Vitality Stadium, where newly-promoted Bournemouth kick-off their campaign against Aston Villa.
The Cherries are back in the top-flight after being relegated in 2020, and face a stern opening test in my opinion.
Aston Villa finished 14th last season but after adding to the talent of the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ollie Watkins with the arrivals of the highly-rated pairing Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara, the ambition will be to finish top-half – at least – this campaign.
I was impressed with Villa under Steven Gerrard last term. Their biggest Achilles’ heel was consistency – or lack of – and putting results together.
I expect them to start the campaign well, and although Bournemouth will be itching to get three points in front of their home fans I think Villa will do the business at EVS.
Leeds United vs Wolves
Our next pick comes from Elland Road, where Leeds host Wolves.
A tricky game to predict, this one, as Leeds have lost their two best players in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha.
But they’ve had a decent pre-season, winning two and drawing one, and what I like about their transfer business is that Jesse Marsch has signed players he’s familiar with – like the American pairing of Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg and Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig. Marsch of course managed both teams before taking the job at Elland Road.
Wolves have added Hwang Hee-chan – who spent last season on loan at the Molineux – and Nathan Collins to their squad, and they’ve still got plenty of quality at their disposal with the likes of Ruben Neves and Raul Jiminez. Although, it looks like the latter will miss out here due to an injury sustained in pre-season.
I can see this being a close one, but I’m going to edge it to Leeds at 5/4, given they have home advantage.
Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest
Our final pick comes from St. James’ Park, in the match between Newcastle United and newly-promoted Nottingham Forest.
The Toon will be full of ambition this term after enjoying a brilliant second half of the season which saw them comfortably survive the threat of relegation and eventually finish just two points outside the top-half.
They’ve spent big money on Sven Botman, while also making the loan move of Matt Targett permanent and adding Nick Pope from the relegated Burnley.
Forest are back in the big time after a 23-year absence, and the Reds have had a busy summer trying to ensure they have enough quality to beat the drop.
They’ve added some notable Premier League experience in Jesse Lingard, while also adding some younger talent in Dean Henderson and Nico Williams.
Taiwo Awoniyi is the man expected to provide the goals, arriving for roughly £18m from Union Berlin.
I can see Forest playing well here in their first game back in the Premier League and away from the ‘pressure’ of their own fans – a free hit almost.
But with the aspirations Newcastle will no doubt have this season, I fully expect them to start the season off with a win at 8/13.
Villa to beat Bournemouth
Leeds to beat Wolves
Newcastle to beat Forest