The Premier League is back and not only that but every English top-flight match from Wednesday June 17th to Sunday June 21st inclusive are double the odds first goalscorer here at Bar One Racing. That means, if you place a first goal scorer bet before kick-off and your first goal scorer strikes and then grabs a second goal anytime in the game you will receive double the odds on your first goal scorer bet.
And what a decisive week it could be with Liverpool fans putting the champagne on ice in the hope of an Arsenal triumph over Manchester City on Wednesday night which would then leave pool fans the dream scenario of a win at Goodison Park on Sunday night clinching a first ever Premier League crown.
Meanwhile, at the bottom Aston Villa supporters may not be as thrilled to see the resumption of football in England with the Birmingham based outfit currently second-bottom albeit still well in touch with the likes of Bournemouth, Watford, West Ham and Brighton with this seasons relegation dog-fight shaping up to be enthralling.
Wednesday, 17th June – Aston Villa v Sheffield United, 6pm, Sky Sports.
While Villa fans may be dreading the conclusion of this strange Premier League season Sheffield United fans must be chomping at the bit to see the Blades back in action even if they can’t lend their ferocious support to Chris Wilder’s side for the time being.
With 10 games still left to play the newly promoted Blades are bang in contention for Champions League football next season and while a win here would cut the gap on Chelsea, who hold the final Champions League spot at present, to just two points it is also a crucial game in terms of trying to cement some sort of European football next term with as many as four other teams still harboring Europa League hopes.
The big question Premier League fans are asking ahead of the resumption of live football is whether away sides will dominate without home fans as we’ve seen in Germany. Before the enforced break Sheffield United had displayed a wonderful ability to claim points on the road, only losing twice with 7 away draws and 4 wins. Aston Villa claimed 17 points from 13 home league matches, the 4th weakest home record in the division.
John Fleck was on the double when the clubs met just before Christmas as United ran out 2-0 winners while the sides last meeting in the Championship was an all-time classic with Billy Sharp’s hat-trick giving Sheff Utd a 3-0 lead before Villa scored three times in the final 10 minutes to salvage a point.
Sheffield United are looking to secure their first league double over Aston Villa since 1965/66.
All in all, Sheffield United’s players should be itching to get back on the field in what has been a fairy-tale first season back in the top-flight and they face a Villa side who will very much be feeling the weight of a relegation dog-fight. Combine that with the Blades away form this season and you’d have to fancy United to win the battle of the newly promoted sides.
VERDICT: Sheffield United 5/4
Wednesday, 17th June – Man City v Arsenal. 8.15pm, Sky Sports.
Manchester City have won their last six matches against Arsenal in all competitions and Citizens chief Pep Guardiola will be looking to get one over his close friend and former assistant Mikel Arteta who in truth has struggled to muster much of a reaction from a stuttering Gunners dressing room since his arrival.
The North London side currently sit a lowly 9th in the league standings and face an uphill battle to qualify for Europe next term, something unimaginable to Arsenal supporters who grew so accustomed to elite European football at Highbury and then the Emirates during Arsene Wenger’s reign.
City have been unable to keep pace with a relentless Liverpool this term but have certainly been the best of the rest and while their players have no real incentive to give their all in the games that remain, Pep Guardiola is not the sort of boss to rest on his laurels and may lay down ultimatums to some of his under performing players in regards to their place in the squad or even at the club for next season which should keep them on their toes.
Again looking at the potential for a spike in away wins upon the return of football, Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 7 on the road but could set a rather unwanted record of six consecutive league draws against the current champions on Wednesday night.
Keeping the double the odds first goal scorer offer in mind here, Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in his last 12 appearances against Arsenal (all competitions) with the Argentine bagging a hat-trick in a 3-1 win in this fixture last season.
VERDICT: Man City 7/20