Betting interest in the 2011 Premier League season will hit a little spike during the off season, as the FA have announced the opening day fixtures. The first round of matches for the new season starts on August 13th, so the countdown is under two months at the moment. Cue rounds of cheers from those suffering from football withdrawal symptoms. But of course, things rarely go smoothly, and the announcement of the new season’s fixtures have been met with some complaint. Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has complained about the timing of the first matches, because they come straight after a midweek round of International Friendly matches, including England playing the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday. The main complaint is that many of the top players will be on international duty on Wednesday, then have to get back to their clubs for the first day of the 2011/12 Premier League season a couple of days later. Dalglish questioned why the opening fixtures couldn’t played on a Sunday to give players an extra day. Still, what is done is done, and now everyone from the title contenders to the relegation candidates and everyone in between, know their opponents for the opening day. There are not any great mouth watering fixtures to kick off the new season, but some interesting ones nonetheless.
Defending Champions Manchester United open their defence with an away trip to West Bromwich Albion. It will be interesting to see how United start their away form this year after struggling so much last season. As for Arsenal, they also have an away trip as they head way up north to visit Newcastle. This will be an important season for Arsene Wenger and his job, because the fans and board surely aren’t going to be much more patient in waiting for silverware. Chelsea, who are still haven’t officially named a new boss also hits the road as they take on losing FA Cup finalists Stoke City. Manchester City do get a home start, as they welcome Premier League new boys Swansea to Eastlands in one of the most attractive games of the opening weekend. Be interesting to judge City’s title credentials, and how well Swansea’s slick football will stand up in the top flight. Liverpool will enjoy home comforts on the first day of the new season, as they welcome Sunderland to Anfield. Liverpool should be a lot stronger from the off this season, as they are looking to build even more in the summer. Championship winner QPR will play their first Premier League fixture at home against Bolton, while Norwich face a trip to Wigan.
A look ahead down the line at some of the big clashes, sees Arsenal playing Liverpool and Manchester United in their second and third matches of the season respectively. There is Manchester United v Chelsea fixture on September 17th, while October hosts a clutch of big matches including the Manchester derby, and a London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Saturday, August 13th Premier League Fixtures
Blackburn v Wolves
Fulham v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Sunderland
Manchester City v Swansea
Newcastle v Arsenal
QPR v Bolton
Stoke v Chelsea
Tottenham v Everton
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United
Wigan v Norwich
With little surprise, Manchester United are still outright favourites to win the 2011/12 Premier League trading at 15/8 at BetFred at the moment. Chelsea are currently running as second favourites and can be taken for a price of 11/4 at Victor Chandler, with Manchester City out as third favourite, and good value for money at 4/1 with Boylesports. Arsenal are falling down the pecking order at 8/1 with Blue Square, and Liverpool are the only other team close in the betting odds, trading at 11/1 to win the Premier League at Stan James.