Pre Season Friendly - FC Cologne v Arsenal, Lukas Podolski
Premier League Accumulator
After starting promisingly thanks to some eye-catching signings, Arsenal's summer has been completely overshadowed by the defection of captain Robin Van Persie to rivals Manchester United. By losing the Dutchman, Arsenal have said goodbye to a player who contributed 30 of their 74 league goals last season, provoking fears over where the goals will come from in his absence.
However, anticipating the striker's exit, Arsene Wenger had already brought in quality replacements in the form Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, and this pair are more than capable of filling Van Persie's boots between them. Sunday's 4-0 friendly win over FC Koln demonstrated that the Gunners are able to rack up the goals without Van Persie on the score-sheet, and they will be eager to prove this straight away against Sunderland. A bet on Arsenal to score over 1.5 goals would have paid off in the last three encounters against the Mackems, and they should be backed to do so on Saturday, at odds of 29/50 (1.58)
Both Fulham and Norwich enjoyed impressive seasons last year, as the Cottagers came within a point of equalling their record Premier League tally and the Canaries defied expectations by comfortably maintaining their top-flight status. However, while the Craven Cottage outfit have benefited from a low-key summer under the steady hand of Martin Jol, their opponents lost their inspirational boss Paul Lambert.
Fulham's home form was strong last season, and they have won seven of the last 10 at the Cottage. Conversely, Norwich lost four of their last five league games on the road, including a defeat to these very opponents. With their attack bolstered by new free transfers Mladen Petric and Hugo Rodallega, Jol's boys should have no trouble hitting the back of the net against a defence that has not kept a clean sheet away from home in 33 Premier League matches. With Chris Hughton still finding his feet in the Norwich hotseat, expect the home side to kick off their season with all three points, at odds of 21/35 (1.84)
|Queen's Park Rangers
After only securing their survival on the final day of last season, QPR boss Mark Hughes promised that his side would never be involved in a relegation scrap again whilst he is at the helm. It will be interesting to see if the Welshman can start to back up this claim straight away, as the Hoops take on a Swansea side who begin life without Liverpool-bound Brendan Rodgers.
Since strengthening his hand with such high-profile signings as Rob Green, Park Ji-Sung, Andrew Johnson and Junior Hoilett, Hughes is probably feeling even more confident about the coming season. The Londoners saved themselves from the drop largely thanks to some scintillating home form, as they won their last five consecutive games at Loftus Road, against the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
On the other hand, Swansea's form tailed off towards the end of the season, as they registered only two wins in nine once survival was ensured. While Michael Laudrup's appointment is an exciting addition to the Premier League, he may struggle to hit the ground running against a seasoned campaigner at this level. Expect the legendary Dane to learn some lessons on English football the hard way, and back QPR to pick up all three points at inviting 53/30 (2.06)
|Premier League Accumulator
Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.
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