Man Utd v West Ham
Sunday 13 August, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports
Man Utd ready to launch title bid
Finishing 24 points behind his former club Chelsea made Jose Mourinho a first-season failure in many eyes. And yet, in some ways, Mourinho had the last laugh.
While big-name rivals secured a top-four finish but ultimately ended the season empty-handed, Mourinho swept up two trophies and qualified for the Champions League anyway.
Improvement in the Premier League is almost guaranteed this time but how much remains to be seen.
The arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic add two important pieces to the puzzle and with Paul Pogba now bedded in, it's no surprise to see Man Utd trading as joint-second favourites at [5.2] in the title race.
Hammers have added PL experience
Almost predictably, West Ham struggled to life in new surroundings last season.
The London Stadium looked nice but it wasn't Upton Park and other teams seemed to enjoy the treat of playing there more.
West Ham's tally of eight home defeats was one more than relegated Hull and they needed the respectable haul of 20 away points to avoid getting involved in a battle for the drop.
A final finishing position of 11th doesn't look bad but they banked only five more points than fourth-bottom Watford and their haul of 45 was 17 points down on Slaven Bilic's hugely promising first season when the Hammers finished above Liverpool.
To shake things up, Bilic has brought in former Man Utd poacher Javier Hernandez, Stoke's Marko Arnautovic and veteran Man City defender Pablo Zabaleta for a combined £36m and secured England goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan.
Adding four players with proven Premier League experience makes plenty of sense.
Jose Mourinho has won seven of his previous eight opening day Premier League fixtures as a manager so knows how to get his team ready for the big kick-off.
He's [1.32] to add to that record.
By contrast, West Ham are traditionally slow starters having lost more opening dayers (10) than any other top-flight team.
West Ham are [12.5] to cause an upset and win at Old Trafford for the first time since Carloz Tevez's dramatic winner kept them up in 2007.
However, the draw at [6.0] could be a runner as this fixture has ended 1-1 and 0-0 in the last two seasons. The Hammers also bagged a 1-1 FA Cup draw in Manchester in March, 2016.
The market leans clearly towards Overs at [1.73] and that gives us a great opportunity to go the other way.
The three draws quoted above would all have been winners for Unders backers and Man Utd come into the game having played in sweltering heat against Real Madrid in the Super Cup on Tuesday night.
That less than ideal prep which could add to any first-day sluggishness only adds to the appeal on an Unders punt at [2.24].
Any Mourinho team will be set up well and only Spurs conceded less home goals than Man Utd last season. The arrival of Matic may make the hosts even harder to break down.
My ideal of a correct scoreline is 1-0 or 2-0 to Man Utd so Unders it is.
Javier Hernandez scored 37 goals in 103 Premier League games for Man Utd and will certainly make West Ham more potent.
Mourinho will know the threat the Mexican poses but there could be mileage in backing an anytime goal at 7/2.
The travelling West Ham fans will dread the sight of Romelu Lukaku given that, for Everton, he scored in seven straight games against the Londoners.
The Belgian, who scored against Real Madrid on Tuesday, is 8/11 with the Sporstbook to score but that sort of price for a Lukaku goal could be an easy source of profit this season.
Martin Atkinson gets the nod for the Old Trafford opener which is interesting as Man Utd fans will tell you he's made several wrong decisions against them over the years.
Last season the West Yorkshire official took charge of 42 games and showed 145 yellows (3.45 per game) and three reds.
Those three sending offs included a Man Utd player (Marouane Fellaini) and a West Ham player (Aaron Cresswell).
Jose Mourinho has never lost a home match on a Sunday in all competitions in his managerial career, winning 86 and drawing 26 of 112 games.