The 2021-22 English Premier League got off to a flying start on Friday, and what an opening weekend it was. It produced a remarkable 34 goals, surprise upsets, statement displays, and much more – in front of stadiums packed with fans for the first time since February 2020.
Let’s take a look at the standout moments from the opening weekend, predictions for the biggest games for matchday 2, as well as the Premier League betting odds for this week’s upcoming games.
Opening Weekend Highlights
- Bruno Fernandes became one of only 10 players to score an opening day hat-trick in Premier League history.
- Arsenal fell to an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Premier League newcomers Brentford in the season’s opening game.
- Manchester United made a huge statement by thrashing Leeds United 5-1.
- Current champions Manchester City were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham. The hosts were without the talismanic Harry Kane, who City are trying to lure to the Etihad.
- Chelsea put three past Crystal Palace, despite new striker Romelu Lukaku’s absence.
- Liverpool beat Norwich 3-0 on Virgil van Dijk’s much anticipated return.
- There were no draws in the opening weekend, with 7 home wins.
Big Game Predictions
Online sports betting fans can look forward to the following big games on matchday 2 in the Premier League:
Liverpool vs. Burnley
Liverpool had a ghastly title defense last season, with many of their main defenders ruled out through injury and their front three did not combine as solidly as they did in the 2019-20 season. However, they opened their 2021-22 season with style and put three past Norwich. Granted, this wasn’t the toughest of tests to start off the season, but it was great to see Virgil van Dijk back in the ranks and goals from Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.
James Tarkowski got Burnley’s season off to a flying start with a goal on the two-minute mark against Brighton. However, the Seagulls were strong enough to see them off with two goals in the latter part of the game. Burnley are probably a sterner test than Norwich, but Klopp’s team should have no problem winning this one.
Betting odds: Liverpool: -600 Tie: +650 Burnley: +1450
Prediction: Liverpool to win 3-1
Manchester City vs. Norwich
Pep Guardiola’s title defense didn’t start in the fashion he would have liked, as his team lost 1-0 to Tottenham. Despite spending £100 million on midfielder Jack Grealish, Man City were unable to score a goal against an energetic and resolute Spurs side. Of course, their goal-scoring fortunes could change if they manage to bring in Harry Kane.
Norwich were simply no match for Liverpool in their opening game and I don’t expect them to fare any better in this one. Daniel Farke has a massive task on his hands if he wants to keep the Canaries in the Premier League for another season, but I see them slipping back down into relegation.
Betting odds: Manchester City: -900 Tie: +850 Norwich: +2000
Prediction: Manchester City to win 2-0
Southampton vs. United
Ralph Hasenhüttl would have been impressed with the way his team started their game against Everton when new signing Adam Armstrong put the Saints ahead in the 22nd minute, but that joy was short lived as the Toffees ran out 3-1 winners at the end. The Saints had a poor 2020-21 season, finishing 15th. They will need to really turn things around if they want to get any points this weekend.
Manchester United played the best soccer seen at Old Trafford for a long time. Paul Pogba was unstoppable, Bruno Fernandes nabbed his first hat trick for the Red Devils, and Mason Greenwood looked sharp. Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be keen to get his new signings, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, onto the pitch, and I think United might put up a bit more of a title challenge than expected this season. United should easily win at St. Mary’s.
Betting odds: Southampton: +400 Tie: +333 Man United: -160
Prediction: Manchester United to win 3-1.
Wolves vs. Tottenham
New Wolves manager Bruno Lage has a bit of a baptism of fire to start his reign. His team faced an in-form Leicester City in their opener, and now come up against a resurgent Spurs. There were definitely some positives to take from the Portuguese manager’s first game, as his side weren’t completely overrun and there were a few missed goal scoring opportunities. The team are buoyed by the return of their best striker, Raúl Jiménez, after he missed the majority of last season with a head injury.
Nuno Espírito Santo comes up against his former team on the back of an impressive win over Manchester City on the weekend. Son Heung-min looks ready to lead the line if Harry Kane does leave Spurs for Manchester City, and Lucas Moura absolutely bossed the midfield; he will be a key part of the manager’s set up for the season. This is going to be another tough game, but if Tottenham play like they did on the weekend, then they should win this one.
Betting odds: Wolves: +250 Tie: +220 Tottenham: +120
Prediction: Tottenham to win 2-1
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Abject Arsenal lost 2-0 to Premier League newcomers Brentford in the first game of the 2021-22 Premier League season and Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly be worried about his job for the next couple of months if things don’t start coming right. Despite forking out £50 million on Ben White, the Gunner’s defensive frailties were highlighted once again. At the moment they lack leadership, confidence, and steel ahead of what is going to be an even more difficult match this weekend.
Chelsea started the season the way they mean to go on, with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. What should strike fear into Arsenal supporters’ hearts is that they did this without new signing Romelu Lukaku and magnificent midfielder N’Golo Kante, who will be available this weekend. Thomas Tuchel has done amazing things with this team and they are undoubtedly going to be fighting for the title this season. It’s hard to see Arsenal getting anything from this game.
Betting odds: Arsenal: +375 Tie: +275 Chelsea: -135
Prediction: Chelsea to win 2-0
Other Betting Odds
Let’s take a look at the EPL odds for the other games taking place this weekend:
- West Ham vs. Leicester City: West Ham: +160 Tie: +250 Leicester City: +160
- Aston Villa vs. Newcastle: Villa: -125 Tie: +290 Brentford: +325
- Leeds vs. Everton: Leeds: +110 Tie: +275 Everton: +225
- Brighton vs. Watford: Brighton: -135 Tie: +230 Watford: +475
- Crystal Palace vs. Brentford: Palace: +160 Tie: +220 Brentford: +180
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If the opening weekend of the 2021-22 season is anything to go by, we’re in for an absolute cracker in Premier League soccer. Get the best soccer odds from around the world with BetMGM.
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