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The Saints return to the Premier League but the fixture list hasn't been kind to them. Adam Bate fully expects the champions to win this one comfortably

The Premier League fixture computer (does it really exist?) has thrown up a daunting opening game for the winners of the Championship, Southampton. They travel to face the Premier League champions Manchester City.

A big occasion? Southampton’s cup final? Well, you could argue it’s their least important game of the season in the sense that it’s the one the Saints are least likely to get something from.

But it’s still a big start for the fans, the players and the manager. With games against Manchester United and Arsenal coming up too – not to mention QPR’s spirited effort at the Etihad Stadium last time out – Nigel Adkins won’t be writing this one off.

Saints are 10/1 (11.0) with William Hill to cause a sensational upset and pick up three points here, while a draw would also represent an impressive achievement at 9/2 (5.5).

Neither of those results would improve the mood of an already frustrated Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini.

The Italian has only been able to add Jack Rodwell to the first-team squad so far this summer.

But the way they punished Chelsea last weekend indicated that they are champions for a reason. A fully fit Carlos Tevez will boost City and they may well feel invincible at the Etihad after the dramatics against QPR.

City are 1/6 (1.17) with William Hill to win this one but by far the better value is to back the home side in the HT/FT betting at 4/7 (1.57).

That paid out in 12 of their 19 home games in the Premier League last season, and with an astonishing 18 first-half clean sheets it’ll usually have a great chance of coming in. It’s the pick of the bets.

For the value bet, the goalscorers market is a bit of challenge with both Tevez and Sergio Aguero at 11/4 (3.75) to score first and an odds-on 8/13 (1.62) to net at any time. Contrast that with the 12/1 (13.0) on offer with William Hill for Rickie Lambert to open the scoring.

But perhaps the best value choice is for Aguero to bag a brace in this one. The Argentine forward has already achieved that feat six times in 34 Premier League games.

Factor in that this looks like one of City’s easier games of the campaign on paper and the 11/4 (3.75) for an Aguero double could well pay out.


BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Man City HT/FT 4/7 (1.57) with William Hill
Aguero to score two or more at 11/4 (3.75) with William Hill

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on

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