We sat down with LV BET’s UK and Ireland brand ambassador, Jason McAteer, to get his take on the opening games of the 21/22 season, as well as the many transfers around Europe and some of the key upcoming fixtures.
I’m quite happy with all my predictions so far. I’d be a rich man if I had a little flutter myself. There are no real great surprises. We previewed most of the teams when the season started, and everything seems to be working out.
The big surprise would probably be the way Arsenal started. It was a tough start for them — lack of confidence, ideas and the number of players missing for Arteta. We’re probably looking at him as one of the first managers that might lose their job – but I hope he doesn’t. He’s still got a lot to offer Arsenal. We’ll have to wait and see.
Regarding the big boys, Manchester United dropping points (1-1 vs Southampton) and Manchester City losing to Tottenham (1-0) were surprises. They’ve (Manchester City) found another gear now, a fantastic display by them at the weekend against Arsenal (5-0).
Liverpool, well, you know they’ll probably be feeling like it was two points dropped against Chelsea – especially when they went down to 10 men. With an advantage for 45 minutes, you’d probably have thought Liverpool would have had the firepower. Still, Thomas Tuchel has shown how fantastic he is when it comes to tactics and working things out – even with a numerical disadvantage.
I think the season is definitely panning out to what we’re expecting. The big boys are going to challenge. When I say that it’s Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. I just think it’s all going according to plan.
Transfers & Ronaldo’s return to the Premier League
I think it’s been an amazing transfer window, in all honesty.
With COVID-19 and the issues surrounding the pandemic, you wouldn’t have thought there was a lot of money to be spent – but clubs have done some tremendous work in the transfer window. I think PSG; you look at their singings and the quality they’ve brought it, you have to put them down as firm favourites for the Champions League.
Domestically, there are a few players you might have thought would have snuck out last minute, but it didn’t transpire for them. With clubs three games in, managers kind of know that they’ve got their squad, and they’ll be reluctant to let players leave with a few hours left.
All in all, I think the big one was obviously Cristiano Ronaldo. It smells like romance and glamour more than anything else. I don’t think it’s a shrewd investment by Manchester United, and I don’t think it makes them any more favourites to win the Premier League. At his age, I think he’s only going to offer a certain amount of quality. He’s not the Ronaldo of five or 10 years ago. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is going to have to accommodate for the way he plays – which is not great.
Is he going to guarantee you goals? You know in La Liga when he was at his pump he scored a phenomenal amount of goals, and with Juventus, he did get his goals and his numbers. Still, I think he sometimes put Juventus at a disadvantage, which was reflected in where they finished last season – just scraping into the Champions League.
Ole’s got to be careful with what he’s got there. In the dressing room, he’s going to rub off on the younger players, which is fantastic, but another ego for Ole to deal with. From a Liverpool fan – I’m glad he’s got that problem.
Big Upcoming Fixtures
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham
Well, we always knew it would be a baptism of fire for Patrick Viera and Crystal Palace.
He’s brought a lot of kids in, and they’re going to have to find their feet in the Premier League. A decent 2-2 result last time out for them will give them a little bit of confidence.
Coming up against Tottenham, well, obviously, Harry Kane staying is a big plus for them. They’ve got to get his head right. I’m sure that now he knows he’s going to stay, Harry will certainly roll his sleeves up and start fighting for Tottenham again. Sitting top of the table, all be it not great performances – good result the opening day against City, but still think there’s more to come from them. Come the end of the season; I think they’ll be pushing for one of the European places – maybe not Champions League.
I think Tottenham have enough to beat Crystal Palace – so I’m going for a Tottenham win.
- Tottenham to win against Crystal Palace is available at 7/8 (1.88).
Leicester City vs Manchester City
Bit of an intriguing battle to be honest.
As I said, I think Manchester City found another gear; sticking five past Arsenal was a fantastic result for them – all be it Arsenal not being in a great place. But still, you’ve got to beat what’s put in front of you.
I think it’s a season where you can’t have more than four or five slip-ups, and I think Pep Guardiola knows that. There’s going to be a strong challenge from his competitors, and he knows that. They’re going to have to reach 90 points.
Leicester City are going to offer a tough challenge.
Brendan Rodgers has done a fantastic job. We spoke about the transfer window, just keeping the players he has, the likes of Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison is good business by Leicester. They look very settled and very organised. I think they’ll pose a bigger problem than Arsenal did, but I think City have got enough to beat Leicester.
I’m going for a Manchester City win.
- Manchester City to win against Leicester City is available at 4/7 (1.57).
Leeds vs Liverpool
No the greatest start for Marcelo Biela and Leed United – it’s been tough for them.
Liverpool started as we expected – full of confidence. They’ll have a lot of players out on international duty, as will Leeds.
It will be interesting to see who comes back fit, and what kind of teams both managers pick. We know both managers like to rotate their squads and teams.
It’s quite a tough one to call, but I’m going to go with Liverpool to sneak it. A Liverpool win against Leeds United.
- Liverpool to win against Leeds United is available at 7/10 (1.70).
Jason McAteers special
We’ve got Tottenham , Manchester City and Liverpool to all win their matches available at 23/5 (5.60).
Tune in to the LV BET Sportblog to find out more information about live sports, as well as the exciting online world of esports, and stay informed about the biggest sports events from around the world.
*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.