Every year we have a little system in the champions league based on how teams from different countries have performed against each other. It’s a bit of data and a bit of feeling but has often done well so we’ll track it over the 6 matchdays.
18.09 – Inter v Tottenham: Home win @2.625 Generally
18.09 – Liverpool v Paris SG: Draw @3.5 Generally
18.09 – Schalke v FC Porto: Home win @2.4 Generally
19.09 – Valencia v Juventus: Home win @4.75 Generally
In the system we have gone with a draw in the big one and we didn’t expect to see Liverpool as a favourite against PSG. Would have backed Liverpool based on their form but with PSG being a bigger price surely they are the value as the game looks a bit of a coin toss with so much attacking on display.
Despite the fact that soccer has often be thought of as a British game, Europe has certainly caught football fever far beyond the English Channel. With the likes of France, Germany, Spain and Italy all having their own major professional football leagues, keeping up with which is which and what you can expect from the teams and the players is a struggle for more casual fans. Whether you’re looking for a quick overview or you’re looking to get involved with European soccer, we’re taking it back to basics and exploring Europe’s best leagues, below.
The Premier League first formed in 1992 when 20 of England’s best teams came together to play a league of their own. With the top four teams qualifying for the UEFA Championships and the fifth qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, it remains the most important domestic league in the UK. From the introduction of World Cup goalscorer Harry Kane to the fame of Newcastle’s investment in Michael Owen, the Premier League has seen its fair share of highlights and remains one of the most watched leagues in all of Europe to date.
Ligue 1, also known as ‘League 1’, is France’s answer to the Premier League. In fact, it even works on the same 20-club promotion and relegation system as the aforementioned British offering. Teams will play 38 matches each, split between home and away matches in a face -to-face in the leading football competition in the country. Ligue 1 has provided us with the successful AS Saint-Etienne, and Paris Saint-Germain, current league champions.
As one of the top leagues in Europe, La Liga has attracted millions of viewers from all over the globe. With the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid dominating the league table on a regular basis whilst showcasing extraordinary skill, it’s easy to get caught up in the Spanish alternative to the Premier League. Even shock losers Betis aren’t to be ignored, with the potential to soar through the rankings with a few good goals on their belt.
Bundesliga is the German equivalent to the other domestic leagues on this list and features some of the best teams Europe has on offer. From Dortmund to RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga has offered the Europa league some star teams worthy of a place amongst the ranks. This season’s champions are currently Bayern, but Wolfsburg and Hertha certainly aren’t far behind. The league even has one of the highest stadium attendance records worldwide, a worthy title to hold considering that football has quickly become a TV-based sport for most.
Serie A is the Italian equivalent of the aforementioned leagues, playing in a round-robin format against one another twice. Serie A has seen format changes aplenty, with the league switching between 18 clubs in 1929-1934, through to 16 in 1934, 20 in 1946, 21 in 1947, 20 in 1948, 18 in 1952, 16 in 1967, 18 in 1988 and finally, 20 in 2004 which is the state it remains in to this day. The table leaders Juventus have dominated the league with 34 titles to their name and with the recent signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, it is clear that Juventus will continue to dominate the league for years to come.
Despite being the domestic leagues, the Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga offer millions of fans some nail-biting gameplay every single year. Patching up the time between the UEFA Championships and the UEFA Europa League, domestic football gives local fans the chance to stand behind their favourite teams and players and cheer them all the way to victory for the chance to get their hands on European championship cups. Which will you watch?
For most supporters out there the new season brings new hopes and it’s no different for us here. We have a wishlist of improvements for the site that we are working through. This includes a number of suggestions people have emailed to us over the last 2 seasons. It’s quite exciting but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves as this is going to be a major rebuild so will take a few months.
The idea is also that one of us will go back to posting corner bets this season. Normally we wait a few weeks for things to settle down but we’ll use the stats we have and on the site to look for bets in the Premier League.
Even though it has been several weeks since the release of the fixture list, the gravity of some opening day fixtures is not lost on anyone. It seems somewhat fitting that – albeit alphabetically – Arsenal vs. Manchester City should stand proudly atop the list.
City to ruin Emery debut
Despite Arsenal having home advantage, with an atmosphere bolstered by the presence of Unai Emery on the touchline, City are odds-on, or at least at evens, across the board to take the points. In one case, the champions are a mere 13/2 to beat Arsenal by at least three goals.
With Manchester City also having ‘trophy specials’ prior to 2018/19, there are no prizes for guessing which team the bookmakers have their own money on.
Unquestionably, from a betting perspective, this match will be the main draw of 2018/19’s opening weekend, especially those that want to use a free bet calculator after including the match in an accumulator. The match will mark the twentieth time that Arsenal FC has opened a Premier League (PL) season on North London turf.
Goals galore at the Grove?
Openers at Arsenal seldom want for goals, and with an outcome yielding over 2.5 goals odds-on across the board, this could easily be a classic. Only one of the nineteen Highbury/Emirates PL openers to date has produced a 0-0 draw; namely, when the Gunners hosted Sunderland in 2012.
A repeat of that 0-0 scoreline, between Arsenal and City, is priced at an average of 352/25 in current correct score markets. By contrast, three or more goals will see Arsenal become the first Premier League club to host over 100 opening day goals.
Though Arsenal F.C has been granted an extraordinary number of home openers in the PL era, it has not always gone to plan for the Gunners.
The Manchester City of 2018 is an entirely different entity from what it once was but, for what it is worth, this is the second time the fixture computer has fated City to open at Arsenal in the PL era. The first occasion was in 1994 when Arsenal strolled to a 3-0 win against a club about to embark on a Lucifer-esque fall from grace through the leagues.
With the tally currently at 97, the average per game is 5.10. An aggregate score involving seven or more goals will also make it the third season in succession that the Emirates has seen such a goalfest unfold – unheard of in the age of offside and (now) VAR!
Curse of the champions – a new phenomenon
Despite finishing 2017/18 with 100 points, Pep Guardiola’s nigh-unplayable Manchester City squad has plenty of reason to be wary. The reigning PL champions from a previous season have now lost in successive years for the first time ever. Indeed, it was not until 2016 that any champion (Leicester) lost a PL opener.
A failure for City to win will make it four years in a row that a reigning champion has failed to win an opener, with three already a record in any case. Regardless of the newly-impoverished record of reigning champions on the opening day, the club is on a run of seven straight opening day wins.
Pep Guardiola can also take encouragement from City’s recent PL record in away openers under the Khaldoon Al Mubarak regime.
City squads have scored twice as many (10) as they have conceded (5) on away openers during that time. If the 4-2 away defeat to Aston Villa (August 2008) is taken out of the equation, City squads have conceded just 0.2 goals per opening day road trip since 2009.