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The Premier League returns this weekend, and everything points to the 22/23 being another action-packed season. At the bottom end of the table, Fulham, Bournemouth, and Nottingham Forest have come up from the Championship to join the relegation battle with Leeds United, Brentford, Southampton, and Everton.
If you've already read my Premier League Matchday 01 Best Side Bet article, you'll know about my cautious approach to the opening fixtures of the season. With all the excitement of preseason, it's very easy to get carried away and fire off a load of bets on the opening weekend. With nothing on the line and some opponents being a week or two behind in their preseason schedule, results and performances can be misleading.
I advise waiting for at least two or three Matchdays to get the lay of the land. It's a guarantee that clubs and players will impress and disappoint us with their performances, and at least one manager will make bold decisions on tactics and team selection.
To kick the season off, I have one Total Bet for you to consider featuring last season's third-placed Chelsea. All odds are taken from Pointsbet and reflective at the time of writing.
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EVERTON VS. CHELSEA (Saturday, 12:30PM EST, Live on USA)
If you've read my Chelsea EPL Betting Preview, you'll be fully aware of some excellent Futures Bets 😉 and my belief in this group of players and Thomas Tuchel. 2022 has been a rough one at Stamford Bridge, and I believe this will bond the squad and give them an edge this season.
It's looking like things are taking a turn for the better in the transfer market after the club finally beat Barcelona to a signing by tieing down César Azpilicueta for two more years. With momentum growing behind deals for Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana, Kyle Walker-Peters, and Frenkie de Jong, there's a possibility that Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Joules Kounde's snubs for Catalunya will long be forgotten.
Their opponents Everton are lucky to still be in the top tier of English soccer after years of terrible squad planning and excessive spending came to a head last season. Rafael Benítez could not right the ship forcing the board to turn to Frank Lampard in January. A wild decision handing a manager with no relegation battle experience the reigns, and it almost cost The Toffees their Premier League status.
Fourteen points in their last nine fixtures combined with Burnley's end-of-season capitulation saved Everton from the drop with a game to spare. You would think the board learned lessons and would spend their money wisely to fill the ten goal and five assist hole left by Richarlison's $63.8 million move to Tottenham.
In classic Everton fashion, they have plucked the uninspiring Dwight McNeil for a reported $24.3 million from relegated Burnley. Last season he contributed one solitary assist in 38 appearances and 35 starts in the Premier League. Frank Lampard's claims the winger is a 'huge talent' is bold, and there's no way he'll come close to posting the numbers or performances the talismanic Richarlison contributed.
They'll be further blunted in attack now Dominic Calvert-Lewin has just been ruled out for four to six weeks leaving Salomon Rondon the only recognized striker available. I would 100% back 37-year-old Thiago Silva to outpace the Venezuelan international.
The Toffees have improved at the back with their other Burnley signing, James Tarkowski, who is a quality addition that will bring leadership and strength. I don't think he is the answer to Everton's defense preventing a Chelsea attacking three of Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount from scoring at least a couple of goals.
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