Many people will regard the Premier League banker of the weekend as Manchester City at home to Swansea on Monday, although Roberto Mancini’s side are a typically prohibitive price to win the contest and the best odds-against chance on the coupon could instead be Fulham on Saturday afternoon.
It is naturally difficult to assess the respective merits of each team as they go into a new campaign, although we have already seen glimpses of the Cottagers thanks to the early stages of the Europa League where Martin Jol’s team have comprehensively dealt with modest outfits to reach the fourth qualifying round.
Fulham are 6/5 (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) to keep the feel good factor going against a Villa side that go into the new season having sold two of their best attacking players during the summer. Ashley Young and Stewart Downing will be a big loss to a team who only managed four wins from nineteen on the road with the wingers at the club last term.
Even so, the Villans came within a whisker of landing the three points at Craven Cottage last season and the visitors are 5/2 (bet365 – £200 free betting) to come away with a victory which will endear Alex McLeish a little more to the visiting supporters. The Scot made a bold decision to switch from St Andrews in the summer and will be aware that a good start is needed.
Darren Bent is one such player that can help his team to victory and bet365 offer 11/2 that he scores the first goal of the game, while new signing Charles N’Zogbia has been Wigan’s best player for the past couple of campaigns and the Frenchman catches the eye at 12/1 (bet365). For Fulham, it is hard to look beyond the underrated Bobby Zamora (7/1 Coral).