The return of the Premier League is rounded off with a Monday Night Football double header, with Sheffield United welcoming Wolverhampton Wanderers to Bramall Lane and Chelsea visiting Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Half-Time Result Draw @ 20/21
What incredible seasons both of these sides had in 2019/20.
After flirting with the European qualification for most of last year, Sheffield United finished an incredible 9th place on their return to the Premier League. Chris Wilder’s side, favourites for relegation in pre-season, defied the odds to mix it with the big boys at the top end of the table – picking up impressive wins over Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and tonight’s opponents in the process.
The good news for Sheffield United on the transfer front is that they haven’t lost any of their key outfield players, though goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s return to parent club Manchester United will be a disappointment. In his place The Blades have spent £18m on highly-rated England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Wolves had a season to be proud of themselves – finishing 7th for a second consecutive year and, while they didn’t qualify for European football either, have made some smart transfer moves over the summer.
Their coup signing was that of 18-year-old Portuguese centre-forward Fábio Silva, who joins for £36m after a record-breaking season at Porto. Nuno Espírito Santo has also added Brazilian defender Marçal to his ranks. The versatile full-back was part of the Lyon side that made it to the Champions League semi-finals and can play both on the left and centrally.
The sale of right-wing-back Matt Doherty will be a huge loss though, and could will potentially rely on Adama Traore to fill the role until a like-for-like replacement is signed.
Last season, Wolves were poor starters. Away from home, they led at the break just once in 19 games – scoring only 6 goals in the opening 45 minutes of those games. Sheffield United, on the other hand, were formidable defensively in the first 45.
The Blades conceded only five first half goals at Bramall Lane, and were level at the break in 11 of their 19 games – including in this fixture just two months ago.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea: Chelsea to Win @ 4/6
It’s fair to say Chelsea have been busy in the transfer market this summer.
After two windows under a transfer ban, in which they weren’t able to sign anyone, the Blues have finally splashed the cash they made from the sales of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata
Time Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva have all arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer, though the latter trio are unavailable for this game due to injury. All eyes will therefore be on former Bundesliga duo Werner and Havertz, signed for a combined £119.7m from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.
Brighton, on the other hand, have barely spent a penny this summer – receiving £14m more in player sales than they’ve spent. Their key addition will be that of England international Adam Lallana on a free transfer from Liverpool, who will be looking to reignite his career after missing most of the last few seasons with various injuries.
The Seagulls are likely to be without influential midfielder Davy Pröpper, and that is a major blow for a side that struggles to create big chances. Only five sides scored less than them last season, and two of them were relegated.
Chelsea will want to make a serious statement of intent in the opening game of the season and, with the prolific Timo Werner leading the line, expect them to win this one fairly comfortably.
Back the double at 5/2.