This weekend sees the return of the Premier League, with a bumper fixture list over the weekend. Starting with newly promoted Hull City facing Premier League Champions Leicester City, another promoted side in Burnley facing Swansea City and Crystal Palace play West Brom at Selhurst Park.
Hull City vs Leicester City – Saturday 13th August 2016 – 12:30 - Sky Sports 1
Newly promoted Hull City kick off the new season by facing Champions Leicester City at The KC Stadium, with both sides looking to kick off their new seasons with a win.
Hull remain manager less as it stands after Steve Bruce handed in his resignation, after concluding that takeover talks would not allow him to do an effective job.
The board will need to act fast as they have yet to make any major signings and have still to appoint a manager. With only five days before the start of the new season that is less than ideal and the board will have to move swiftly in appointing a successor.
The Tigers had an excellent season in the Championship last year, one of the most competitive leagues in the world with so many sides vying for the riches of the Premier League.
Their route to the Premier League was via the playoffs having secured a fourth placed finish, ten points behind eventual champions Burnley. They were able to secure a 3-2 aggregate win over Derby and they triumphed 1-0 in the play off final, with a win against Sheffield Wednesday.
They have kept the same squad of players together but there will definitely be a need for Hull to purchase players capable of keeping them in the top flight.
To compound matters they have already lost key midfielder Mohammed Diame to Championship side Newcastle and they will need to replace his quality in the middle of the park at the very least.
They will be looking to slightly improve on their record against Leicester, in 15 meetings they have won 5, lost 6 and drawn 4 matches.
Hull are the underdogs in this match at 13/5, with Abel Hernandez at 6/1 to open the scoring for the Tigers.
Leicester kick off the new season on the back of a narrow 2-1 defeat by Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, with goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard enough to beat Jamie Vardy's goal.
For Ranieri and Leicester it will be business as usual and they will be looking to continue and build on their excellent form last season, which saw them romp to their maiden Premier League title.
They lost an incredible three games last season and should they continue with their excellent defensive records and are able to feed Jamie Vardy, they will have another excellent season.
They also have the added excitement of the Champions League to come, a dream that many Leicester fans thought would never come true.
Leicester's form in pre-season has been poor, they have yet to register a win in 90 minutes.
The foxes did beat Celtic on penalties and they have had to face exceptionally strong opposition in Manchester United, Barcelona and PSG.
Ranieri has lost the services of Kante to his compatriot Antonio Conte at Chelsea, but they have managed to secure Jamie Vardy on an extended contract and Riyad Mahrez looks like he will be staying put as well.
He will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the Premier League again, with all of the top sides resurgent and with three new, high profile managerial changes for major rivals.
Leicester are the favourites to win this match at 11/10 with Jamie Vardy the favourite to score first at 4/1.
Burnley vs Swansea City – Saturday 13th August 2016 – 15:00
Newly promoted Burnley kick off the new season by facing Swansea City at Turf Moor, with both sides looking to kick off their new seasons with a win.
Burnley enjoyed an excellent season in the Championship last season, ensuring that they remained in the division for only one season after the disappointment of relegation in the 2014/15 season.
Keeping Sean Dyche has been a huge challenge for the club, he has an excellent record at Turf Moor and depending on how their season goes, he may not be at the club for much longer.
He is rightly and widely regarded as one of the best young English managers around at the moment, along with Eddie Howe at Bournemouth.
Sean Dyche has made a number of signings in this transfer window but as you would expect none of them have been huge signings. They have a very strict model at the football club and they are one of the more sustainable clubs in English football because of it.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Nick Pope have joined from Charlton, Jon Flannagan has signed on loan from Liverpool and Jamie Thomas has signed from Bolton Wanderers.
There have been a few exits with the high profile departure of Joey Barton from Burnley to Rangers finalised months ago and they will be looking to sign an experienced few heads in the coming weeks to ensure they can remain in the Premier League.
The Lancashire based outfit will be looking to slightly improve on their record against Swansea, in 10 meetings they have won 3, lost 5 and drawn 2 matches.
Burnley are the underdogs at 13/8 with Andre Gray at 4/1 to open the scoring.
Swansea kick off the new season on the back of a 12th placed finish last season, which considering the start they had in the first half of the season was an excellent recovery.
Unfortunately for the Swans and Garry Monk, they were unable to build on the club record finish of 8th in the previous season, in December the alarming slide culminated in a parting of the ways.
The appointment of Francesco Guidolin saw them enjoy an excellent run of results and saw them record 8 wins, 4 draws and 6 defeats.
This was enough in the end to ensure they were 10 points above the relegation zone and only three points off 10th placed Chelsea.
Huw Jenkins and the Swansea board will be hoping for a far better return from him this season, with the Italian in place for the entirety of pre season and with a settled squad they will be targeting a top ten finish this season.
Swabsea have made a number of signings with Mark Birighitti, Leroy Fer from QPR, Mike Van Der Hoorn from Ajax and Gerhard Tremmel coming from Werder Bremen, as well as the signing of Fernando Llorente from Sevilla.
They look set to lose Andre Ayew to West Ham but only on the proviso that the Swans manage to sign another Spaniard in Borja Baston.
Guidolin will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the Premier League again, with all of the top sides resurgent and with three new, high profile managerial changes for major rivals.
Swansea are the favourites at 7/4 with Fernando Llorente at 11/2 to open the scoring for the Swans.
Crystal Palace vs West Brom Odds – Saturday 13th August 2016 – 15:00
Crystal Palace kick off the new season by facing West Brom at Selhurst Park, with both sides looking to kick off their new seasons with a win.
Alan Pardew enjoyed an excellent start to last season winning 9 of their first 17 games and they were challenging for European football at that stage.
Disaster set in during the festive and New Year and this culminated in Crystal Palace failing to win any Premier League fixtures for 15 matches, with 9 of those resulting in defeats.
The relief finally came when they Norwich City 1-0 in April but they would win only one more game between that time and the end of the season, they beat Stoke City 2-1 and this guaranteed their safety.
They finished in a disappointing 15th place and finished with just five more points than relegated Newcastle United, Pardew's former employers.
Palace and the new board will be looking for a far more convincing finish and placing come the end of next season and they have been looking to invest heavily in their squad to ensure they do so.
They have signed Yohan Cabaye on a permanent deal from PSG, Steve Mandanda has signed from Marseille, James Tomkins has joined from West Ham and Andros Townsend has signed from Newcastle United.
There have been a few exits with the high profile departure of Dwight Gayle from Palace to Newcastle in the deal that took Townsend to Selhurst. With the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Marouane Chamakh, Brede Hangelaand and Adrian Mariappa all released.
Christian Benteke has also been linked with a big money move to Selhurst and if he were to join Palace they would be an serious bet for a top ten finish.
Capital based Palace will be looking to slightly improve on their record against West Brom, in 43 meetings they have won 12, lost 18 and drawn 13 matches.
Crystal Palace are the favourites to win at 19/20 with Connor Wickham the favourite to score first at 9/2.
West Brom kick off the new season on the back of a 14th placed finish last season, they will be disappointed with how they ended the season and they finished only one point above their hosts in this match.
Tony Pulis will be looking to build on his steady season with West Brom and they will be targeting a top ten finish themselves this season.
West Brom have made just one signing so far with Matt Phillips of QPR joining them permanently. They have been linked with a number of players with Odion Ighalo of Watford but they will need a serious figure to lure him to the Hawthorns.
West Ham's Diafra Sakho's move has also seemingly fallen through, with the deal close to conclusion but the news that the striker will not be fully fit for the start of the season has seemingly curtailed any interest.
The move was reportedly worth £16 million, a significant investment for a forward who has had an injury ravaged last season for the Hammers.
They have also released a few key players from last season with Victor Anichebe, Stephane Sessegnon and Anders Lindegaard all leaving. There is also growing speculation regarding the future of centre back Jonny Evans, with Arsenal in serious need of defensive options.
As with every transfer window there has been more speculation regarding the future of Saido Berahino, with the striker linked with a number of Premier League clubs, it does appear that Tottenham have now abandoned any interest in the forward.
Pulis will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the top ten in the Premier League again, with all of the top sides resurgent and the likes of Stoke, West Ham, Palace, Southampton and Everton all expected to be challenging for the top half of the table.
West Brom are the underdogs at 16/5 with Salomon Rondon the favourite to score first at 13/2.
Mahrez to score first @ 6/1 and Leicester to win 2-1 @ 8/1
Llorente to score first @ 11/2 and a 1-1 draw @ 9/2
Wickham to score first @ 9/2 and Palace to win 1-0 @ 4/1