JD returns with a preview of the new season in England and Spain and includes two bets for this weekend, one of which involving backing against Hull, Crystal Palace and CardiffWe have a very exciting season ahead as some of the top leagues in Europe kick off this weekend. The Premier League is likely to be more competitive than ever after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The stage is set for an enthralling battle between reigning champions Manchester United, big spending Manchester City and Chelsea, who will be fancied by many to win the title under the returning Jose Mourinho. Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham all have the ability to surprise this season but each would be happy with a top-four finish.
Manchester City are my selection to win the league title at 9/4 (3.25) with Bet365. They have won it before and the squad has been upgraded markedly. Manuel Pellegrini is tactically astute and has always shown an ability to get the best out of his players.
Chelsea will have plenty of supporters in the market at 9/4 (3.25) with Bet365 too though.
This Chelsea side is younger and more technical than previous ones but may have their best seasons ahead of them. Mourinho has already spoken about the youth of the side and his teams usually peak in their second campaign.
It will be intriguing to see how David Moyes performs at Old Trafford. He has huge boots to fill and the loss of Sir Alex Ferguson is a massive one to bear. The champions have had difficulty adding to their squad this summer and other teams look to have more potential to improve beyond them.
La Liga will be between the two big powers in Spain again in Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Catalans are 8/11 (1.73) with Paddy Power and it looks about right. Despite losing their coach Tito Vilanova to illness, they can retain their title. They won it convincingly last season and Gerardo Martino will bring a freshness and new ideas to the star-studded team.
Carlo Ancelotti will be expected to deliver one big trophy for Real Madrid. 'La Decima' is the heart's desire of the Real Madrid faithful and that may take priority for the Italian tactician.
Looking ahead to the weekend, the Bundesliga started last week and we were treated to some magnificent games. Hannover 96 are one of the more predictable teams in the league. For example, they are remarkably difficult to beat at home losing only 3 times in 35 matches since April 2011.
Away from home, it is a different story though, losing 23 out of the last 35 matches. On that basis, I am happy to take the 5/6 (1.83) on Borussia Monchengladbach winning this contest and continuing the poor away form of Hannover 96. The Foals are very solid on home soil and impressed many in their opening day match against Bayern Munich.
For a more speculative bet, oppose the promoted Premier League sides. They have all been assigned difficult tasks on the opening weekend. Spurs, who have made some excellent signings, will be eager to get off to a flying start at Crystal Palace after dropping 'soft' points at the beginning of last season. Hull City face a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge and Cardiff City go to Upton Park.
The Welsh side have made some interesting additions to the squad but they may take time to adjust to life in the Premier League. William Hill are just over 3/1 (4.09) that all three promoted sides lose on the opening weekend and it is worth a small investment.
|Borussia Monchengladbach at 5/6 (1.83) with William Hill||Spurs, West Ham and Chelsea treble at 3/1 (4.09) with William Hill
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