The 2018/19 Premier League fixtures are out and new Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been thrown straight into the deep end.
An opening weekend clash with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is tasty for neutrals but hardly ideal for the Gunners. Facing the defending champions in Emery’s first home game at the Emirates Stadium could be… interesting.
I give it 45 minutes before Arsenal are two-nil down and fans are calling for Arsene Wenger to be reinstated as manager. In all seriousness, City may be slightly rusty at the beginning of the campaign and that could actually play into Arsenal’s hands.
888sport’s traders opened up with Emery’s side at 14/5 to pick up three points in their opening fixture; not a bad price considering Arsenal are the home side.
Looking away from that fixture, Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Newcastle United also carries plenty of appeal. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are as short as 4/5 to emerge victorious in that contest and Spurs striker Harry Kane will be looking to break his August goal scoring jinx.
He will lead England in this summer’s World Cup and could go into the 2018/19 campaign full of confidence after lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy. We can dream, right?
The Magpies were excellent in the second half of last season and Rafa Benitez’s side will be looking to challenge for a top half finish in the upcoming campaign.
The foundations for a successful campaign are there for Newcastle but owner Mike Ashley cannot afford to be stingy in the transfer window. Give Benitez money to spend and the Magpies will flourish; whether he will have that luxury or not is another question.
Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers will host Everton at Molineux in their first fixture back in England’s top flight since suffering relegation in 2012.
Now blessed with lots of financial support, Wolves will be looking to sign a couple of big names before the start of the campaign and punters may be tempted by the 7/5 available for a home win in that clash.
Cardiff City will open up with an away trip to AFC Bournemouth whilst Fulham host Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage. The Welsh outfit are as short at 7/10 to go straight back down to the Championship next season but Fulham are out at 7/4 for relegation.
An opening day win for the Cottagers will certainly help to bolster confidence ahead of what could be a tricky campaign.
Liverpool, currently 5/1 to win a maiden Premier League title, will host West Ham United on the opening weekend and Jurgen Klopp’s men could run riot.
The Reds have bagged 12 goals in their previous three fixtures against the Hammers and another four-goal haul could be on the cards. Mohamed Salah and co have opened up at 3/10 to pick up three points in front of an expectant Anfield crowd.
But the pick of the matches is of course that contest at the Emirates Stadium. City are priced at 13/20 to defend their Premier League crown – unsurprisingly short given their dominance in 2017/18.
Emery has two months to come up with the perfect plan to derail Pep’s side; the Gunners will be raring to go but are they gifted enough to stop this City juggernaut? Only time will tell…
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*