ALEX CROOK PREVIEW

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ALEX CROOK: The Opening Weekend !

talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent ALEX CROOK previews the opening weekend of the Premier League season which gets underway on Friday night. Where are the angles on starsports.bet?


The new Premier League season gets underway on Friday and there are some cracking looking match-ups on the opening weekend of what promises to be an enthralling campaign.

Will Manchester City be able to maintain the intensity from their historic treble win having lost a couple of key players? Can Arsenal close the gap after shelling out £200m on new stars? Dos anyone give Luton and Sheffield United a prayer of staying up?

These are all questions that will be answered in the fullness of time, but for now let’s try and find some winning selections to get our campaign off to a flier.

FOUR EPISODES OF ROUTE ONE FOOTBALL NOW PUBLISHED – CHECK THEM OUT BELOW


⚽ ARSENAL V NOTTINGHAM FOREST

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SATURDAY 12.30pm: Arsenal’s brave title bid last season finally came crashing in defeat at the City Ground in a game which also saw Forest defy the odds and secure their top-flight survival.

The pair quickly meet again at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, and I am predicting a strong start from the Gunners.

I put them up to beat City in 90 minutes in the Community Shield (the boss has banned me from ever using the word curtain-raiser again), and while they fell just short on that front it was encouraging for their fans to see Mikel Arteta’s men strike an early psychological blow by emerging victorious on penalties.

The one concern to take away from that game was where the goals would come from up front, with Gabriel Jesus injured and Kai Havertz floundering at Wembley, but Forest do not have the same defensive resilience as the champions, especially away from home.

I’ve also been told that Steve Cooper is a little bit concerned about the lack of signings his side have made this summer, which is ironic after last season’s scattergun approach to the market.

Gabriel Martinelli was kept quiet by Kyle Walke last weekend, but he can prosper here, and I like the look of Martinelli to score at anytime at 1/1 with starsports.bet in game Arsenal should win by at least two goals.


⚽ BRIGHTON V LUTON

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SATURDAY 3pm: I’ll be at the Amex Stadium on Saturday on what is a historic day for Luton Town.

Their rise from non-league and the brink of bankruptcy to the riches of the Premier League has been a truly remarkable story, but I am not predicting a fairytale start for Rob Edwards’s men.

If they are to stand any hope of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship, and it looks unlikely, the bulk of their points will surely come at Kenilworth Road, which will be a culture shock for visiting sides.

Brighton were one of the stories of last season and even without the departed Alexis Mac Allister, and sought-after Moises Caicedo, will be too strong for the happy Hatters.

I can envisage Evan Ferguson banging in plenty of goals this season and I know how excited Brighton are about the prospects of £30m record signing Joao Pedro.

However, my selection for this game is the ultra-reliable Karou Mitouma to score at any time at 8/5 with starsports.bet. The Japanese international clocked up plenty of goal involvements last term and will once again be a key man for Roberto De Zerbi.

I also fancy Brighton at -2 on the handicap at 23/10 with starsports.bet


⚽ BOURNEMOUTH V WEST HAM

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SATURDAY 3pm: A lot has happened since West Ham’s triumphant night in the Europa Conference League final.

Captain and key man Declan Rice has been sold for a British record fee, and Italian striker Gianlucca Scamacca has jumped ship, leaving the Hammers looking light on options up front.

New signings Edson Alvarez and James Ward-Prowse may have arrived too late to play a prominent role, leaving a bit of a midfield void, and there have been issued behind the scenes with David Moyes and new sporting director Tim Steidten.

That could add up to it being a good time to be facing the Eastenders.

In Andoni Iraola (pictured below) Bournemouth have a new manager untried in the Premier League, leading to them being amongst the favourites to be relegated, but I fancy the Spaniard to surprise a few people, starting this weekend.

The Cherries played some really good football in the second half of last season and will be hoping to kick on having made a brave managerial change.

Their fixtures for the first two months of the season look daunting, so a winning start for Iraola is imperative.

I think they are too big a price at 13/8 to win the game with starsports.bet not to be included in my opening Saturday treble which has been boosted to 16/1 with starsports.bet (see below).


⚽ CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL

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SUNDAY 4.30pm: I will also be doing a separate blog previewing what is undoubtedly the game of the weekend, but will be recommending the draw and both teams to score at around 3/1 with starsports.bet


RECOMMENDED BETS

Saturday treble Martinelli to score at any time/Mitouma to score at any time/Bournemouth to win 🚀 BOOSTED TO 16/1 from 12/1 🚀 with starsports.bet 1pt
Brighton -2 on the handicap 23/10 1.5pts (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
Chelsea v Liverpool draw and both teams to score 100/30 1pt (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

Good luck
ALEX CROOK


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