By Antony Jordan
The first weekend’s EPL action from the 2016/17 season continues around England this Sunday with two matches being played, including the biggest game of this opening round. This biggest match sees Arsenal and Liverpool clash at The Emirates Stadium in North London in the second of the day’s two matches as it follows Jose Mourinho’s first official match in charge of Manchester United as they face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Will it be Arsene Wenger or Jurgen Klopp that triumphs in the meeting of two of the biggest EPL sides and will Eddie Howe be able to see off the challenge of The Special One? We preview both of these games with online sportsbook Pinnacle.com to provide our best EPL picks.
Many Arsenal fans have had issue with manager Arsene Wenger over his lack of spending over the years and with only Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding coming in this summer so far, you can see why they are still unhappy with the Frenchman. This ire will only increase for this opening match of the season as all three of Arsenal’s first choice central defenders are out so Holding and Callum Chambers are likely to start the game in front of Petr Cech in goal, while the fans will be positively furious at the lack of strikers coming into the team during the transfer window as Danny Welbeck is injured and Oliver Giroud is unfit for this clash.
Despite all of these problems The Gunners have scored 14 goals in their final three pre-season matches and will come into this clash full of confidence. However, Liverpool will be a much tougher task than these warm up games and even without the injured duo of Daniel Sturridge and James Milner Jurgen Klopp’s side will fancy their chances at getting at the home side due to their lack of defensive options. It is likely that the former Borussia Dortmund manager will hand debuts to new summer signings Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum, and after their performances last season we know that these two can find the net.
Head-to-head it is the home side who have done the best in meetings between these sides lately with three wins and two draws in five clashes since losing 2-0 in August 2011, but can they continue this unbeaten run? We are unsure and feel that both teams are capable of winning this match, but what we are confident of is a continuation of the recent glut of goals that this fixture has produced. There have been 24 goals in the last six meetings of the sides, with five of those seeing at least three and three seeing at least five goals! With questionable defences and plenty of confidence we see both of these sides going for it and we’re backing goals at The Emirates this Sunday.
We are backing Over 2.5 goals in this Arsenal v Liverpool clash @ 1.83 with Pinnacle.com.
Jose Mourinho will arrive at the Vitality Stadium this Sunday afternoon hoping to go one better than his predecessor Louis van Gaal who saw his Manchester United side beaten 2-1 last December as these two teams clashed in the top flight of English football for the first time in their history. He does have some issues to contend with for this season opening match though as world record signing Paul Pogba is suspended after a ban for Juventus was carried over while seasoned central defender Chris Smalling is also banned for the match. However, new signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly are all sure to play and the first of this trio will be full of confidence following his Community Shield winning goal against Leicester last weekend.
Bournemouth have fewer issues when it comes to injuries with only winger Junior Stanislas on the sidelines, but record signing Jordon Ibe will feature on the wings instead. The minnows of this tie will be confident too after seeing the champions Leicester beaten by newcomers Hull and title favourites Man City need a late own goal to secure all three points but can they cause their own upset this weekend?
We feel that Bournemouth will play the nicer football of the two sides and with Callum Wilson returning to the squad after a full pre-season following his serious injury last season like a new player for The Cherries so with United starting an untested central defender while their other first choice CB is suspended we see them having chances in this match. We can certainly see them confident enough after last season to take these chances too and with United offering plenty of attacking threat of their own we see goals offering plenty of value in this first game of the season for these sides.