Mitrovic to make his mark
Fulham vs Arsenal
Goalscorer: Aleksandr Mitrovic to score anytime @ 5/2
As mentioned in my Correct Score column, I'm not expecting Arsenal to win here, predicting a 1-1 draw. The Cottagers should play a deep block, but Mitrovic is an absolute handful, and will certainly test Arsenal's backline. He averaged 0.59 xG/avg match in the Championship, and was Fulham's go to guy, so if they do create a few chances, they will likely fall to the big Serb.
Card: Granit Xhaka to be booked @ 2/1
It is not news to learn that Xhaka can be a bit of a hot head and a 'walking yellow card', and while he did calm down a bit towards the back end of the campaign, I like his chances of seeing a card here. If starting, he will be looking to make his mark on the game early with a 'big authoritative tackle', which he usually makes a mess of. He committed 1.9 fouls per avg match last season, and if this game goes the way I expect, with Arsenal being frustrated, that increases our chances too.
Same Game Multi: Under 3.5 Goals, BTTS and Knockaert 1+ Shot on target @ 8.38
Not expecting a high-scoring game, but do like both teams to score. Anthony Knockaert averaged 0.88 shots on target per avg match last season, and he loves a long range pop, so if he starts, I like his chances of testing Arsenal's GK.
All roads point to Ings
Crystal Palace vs Southampton
Goalscorer: Danny Ings to score first @ 3/1
Danny Ings had a sensational campaign in 19/20, and I expect him to pick up from where he left off. The England international averaged 0.53 xG/avg match, and was sensationally clinical throughout the campaign. If Southampton continue the way they finished last season, expect them to create plenty of chances for Ings to get off the mark.
Card: Kyle Walker-Peters to be booked @ 3/1
Walker-Peters impressed greatly after joining Southampton on-loan in January, and will likely continue to do so, but he will have his work cut out against Palace's left side. Wilfried Zaha is the obvious threat, but Eberechi Eze has a tendency to drift left, and that makes sense, allowing him to link with Palace's best player. The 3/1 looks a good price.
Same Game Multi: Southampton or draw, Crystal Palace Under 1.5 goals and James Ward-Prowse 1+ shot on target @ 2.59
I expect Saints to at the very least avoid defeat against an under-manned Crystal Palace, who very rarely net twice in the same game. James Ward-Prowse was given licence to go forward more after the break, and also takes free-kick. I like him to get a shot on target in the match.
Bobby to get off mark at Anfield
Liverpool vs Leeds
Goalscorer: Roberto Firmino to score anytime @ 7/5
One of the strangest things about Liverpool's title win was the fact that Roberto Firmino didn't score at Anfield until the final home game of the campaign. He had a huge under-performing season, netting nine times from chances equating to 16.3 xG - showing he was getting into good scoring positions. He is crucial to the Reds attack, and looks over-priced given his xG/avg match (0.49) last season was very similar to Mane's (0.47).
Card: Kalvin Phillips to be booked @ 11/5
It was a good 'pre-season' for Kalvin Phillips, who earned his first England cap last week after a stellar campaign in the Championship. This is a step up though, and the pace of Liverpool's players could catch him out. He was booked nine times last season, and averaged 1.53 fouls per avg match. He looks a solid play for a card.
Same Game Multi: Liverpool to win, Under 3.5 Goals and Trent Alexander-Arnold 1+ shot on target
Liverpool are expected to win, but I don't think they will be emphatic winners, with Leeds deserving some respect. Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of Liverpool's main attacking threats, and as well as taking over free-kick duties, he loves a pop from distance. He looks good for a shot on target.
Fredericks to struggle vs Saint-Maximin
West Ham vs Newcastle
Goalscorer: Michail Antonio to score anytime @ 8/5
West Ham may be in turmoil off the pitch, but on it, they finished last season brilliantly, and given the same players have returned, I see no reason why that won't continue. Their hero last season was Michail Antonio, and post-break, when playing as a number nine, he averaged 0.83 non-pen xG/avg match. The price about him to net looks too big.
Card: Ryan Fredericks to be booked @ 2/1
Similar thinking to the Walker-Peters bet put up in the Palace vs Saints game. Ryan Fredericks, if starting, will likely be up against the tricky and pacey Allan Saint-Maximin. Fredericks was booked eight times last season, and I can see him struggling to contain Saint-Maximin.
Same Game Multi: West Ham or Draw, BTTS and Antonio to score @ 4.47/2
I like West Ham to get something from the game, but I think we will see Newcastle hit the back of the net. Antonio is a hard player to stop, and is capable of scoring different types of goals, so I can see him notching.
Vardy to start defence of golden boot with a bang
West Brom vs Leicester
Goalscorer: Jamie Vardy to score first @ 7/2
Yes this is a very obvious selection. Vardy, last seasons top scorer, should be well rested ahead of the new campaign, and he continues to be Leicester's main source of goals. He averaged 0.56 xG/avg match last season, and this West Brom team was far from solid defensively in the Championship. Vardy will be licking his lips.
Card: Jake Livermore to be booked @ 13/5
The combative midfielder is back in the Premier League after helping the Baggies to promotion, and if he gets the nod to start, I like him to pick up a booking. He is the kind of break up player that can easily pick up a card, and committed 2 fouls per avg match last season on his way to 10 yellows.
Same Game Multi: Leicester or draw, Leicester 15+ total shots and James Maddison 1+ shot on target @ 4.49
Leicester get at least a point at the Hawthorns, and they can rack up the shots when they are in dominant mood, taking 25 at Tottenham in the second to last game last season and 14 against Manchester United in the final match. Maddison, if back in the line-up, will take a fair few shots from distance, and averaged 0.61 shots on target per/avg match last season.
Everton front two to make an impact
Tottenham vs Everton
Goalscorer: Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score anytime @ 21/10
Of all players who will take to the field in this match, last season it was Dominic Calvert-Lewin who posted the best xG/avg match, with 0.54. He benefitted from an improvement in the team's underlying process immediately after Carlo Ancelotti took over, and the Toffees were averaging 2 xGF per game up until the break. If they start the season like that, Calvert-Lewin looks to big a price to notch.
Card: Richarlison to be booked @ 7/2
While he is an excellent attacking player, Richarlison is a clumsy forward who does get his fair share of cards. Last season he averaged 1.4 fouls per/avg match, and went into the book eight times. He throws his weight around, and could be caught out in this match.
Same Game Multi: Everton or draw, BTTS and Lucas Digne 1+ shot @ 4.46
I like Everton's chances of avoiding defeat here, and am expecting a more entertaining game than we saw towards the back end of the 19/20 campaign. Lucas Digne shoots on sight, and takes his fair share of free-kicks, so I like his chances of registering a shot.
Jimenez to lead Wolves
Sheffield United vs Wolves
Goalscorer: Raul Jimenez to score first @ 9/2
Wolves were excellent again last season, ranking 5th in Infogol's xG table for the second straight campaign, and Mexican striker Raul Jimenez was arguably their MVP. He scored 17 times last season, with a process of 0.51 xG/avg match, and if Wolves are to notch here, it's highly likely that it will be their leading marksman.
Card: Enda Stevens to be booked @ 12/5
Adama Traore is a pain to pretty much every Premier League defender with his ability to glide past players at will, and he was fouled 1.31 times per avg match last season - the highest number of any Premier League player. Therefore, if he is to play some part, it's likely his focus will be on the right hand side of the Wolves attack, the left side of the Blades defence. Jack O'Connell did interest me, but Enda Stevens could be worth a punt - he made more fouls per avg match than his centre half.
Same Game Multi: Wolves or draw, Under 3.5 goals and Raul Jimenez 1+ shot on target @ 2.26/5
I know Sheffield United won this game last season, but they did so at the death in a game bereft of good chances. Wolves should be well rested after a crazy 19/20 campaign, and they can avoid defeat in the opener, which will again be low-scoring. Jimenez averaged 1.19 shots on target per avg match last season.
Kai's the guy
Brighton vs Chelsea
Goalscorer: Kai Havertz to score anytime @ 15/8
One of Chelsea's high-profile German signings this summer. Havertz was sensational last season for Bayer Leverkusen, and it will be interesting to see how he is deployed by Frank Lampard. He predominantly played as a 10 last season, but did start a few games as a nine, averaging 0.35 xG/avg match. If he is given a start, I think this price is too good to turn down for a player with an eye for goal.
Card: Yves Bissouma to be booked @ 16/5
He played limited minutes last season, but when he did play, Yves Bissouma racked up the fouls. While he was only booked four times, the Mali midfielder made 2.16 fouls per avg match. To me this price looks too big if he gets the nod from the start.
Same Game Multi: Chelsea or draw, BTTS and Timo Werner 2+ shots on target @ 3.83
This new look Chelsea team aren't expected to lose at the Amex, but I don't want to underestimate Brighton by backing the Blues to win. I expect both teams to score given Chelsea haven't sorted their defensive issues out, while Werner, in an equally impressive attacking team, averaged 2.18 shots on target per avg match.
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