Two of last season’s Premier League mid-table teams meet on the opening weekend when West Brom face Bournemouth. These two did relatively well last season and they will want to repeat that this season, a good start will certainly help them. The middle of the Premier League is sure to be tight again and every point will matter later in the season.
Premier League – Saturday 12th August / 15:00
Best Odd of: 7/5 at Ladbrokes
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Best Odd of: 23/10 at Ladbrokes
Neither of these two will want to get involved in the relegation battle, but they will know their limitations going into the season. They know they can’t compete at the top, but mid-table would represent another good season. Both teams head into the new season with similar squads to last season, although they have added a little extra firepower so we can get a good grip on how we think this game will go.
Jermain Defoe and Jay Rodriguez are going to be important players for these two teams going forward and Defoe in particular has the ability to have another great Premier League season. It will be great to see him in another environment and I am sure the move is going to work out well for him.
West Brom Form
West Brom finished 10th last season and that was a good season for them. They will be looking to repeat that feat, and if they can achieve anything better, that will be a huge over achievement. The middle of the Premier League was very tight with just a few points separating many teams so even at this early stage, every point counts.
From eight pre-season games, West Brom have won just two games, which is not ideal preparation going into the new season. Both of those victories came against lower league opposition and whenever they have played a quality team, they have been outclassed. This needs to change, and the start of the season will be a test for them to see if they can bounce back after their poor start.
Bournemouth finished one point ahead of West Brom in 9th place last season, and will be looking to do that again this season. They are capable of finishing in the top half again this season, although breaking into the top seven ahead of Everton and the top six will be very tough for them and probably an unrealistic target.
Bournemouth have built nicely in pre-season, beating lower league opposition and competing well against good opposition. They finished their pre-season campaign with a good 2-2 draw with Napoli, and their only defeat came at the hands of good Spanish side Valencia.
West Brom have kept a similar squad to last season, adding different firepower options to their squad in an attempt to improve even further. They have brought in Jay Rodriguez and Yuning Zhang to provide them with goals and if they can fire for West Brom, then they have a great chance of equalling last season’s performance. I expect Rodriguez to get a chance early, while the youngster Zhang looks to be a longer term project that will take time to adapt to the Premier League.
Bournemouth have managed to keep hold of the majority of their team from last season and they have added well to it. They have added goals in Jermain Defoe, he will surely continue his great Premier League scoring record for them this season and is a great free transfer. Nathan Ake arrives from Chelsea on a permanent basis and although he is just 22 years old, I expect he will have a big impact at Bournemouth and he has a great chance to nail down a first team spot.
Top Betting Tips
This is a close game between two teams who were evenly matched last season. I think they both have goals in them, but it is very difficult to predict who will win the game. With this in mind, I am going to predict a 1-1 score draw, which can be backed at 11/2 with William Hill and Ladbrokes.
Both teams have the ability to score goals and they don’t have fantastic defensive line-ups, which leads me to believe there will be goals scored. With Jermain Defoe in their line-up, Bournemouth have added an extra attacking weapon and they are going to be dangerous all season long I think. However, I don’t think he will be enough to get them over the line and I think they will leave The Hawthorns with just one point from this game.