Manchester City (-150) vs. West Brom (+475), Draw (+300)
Manchester City, runners-up in the Barclays Premier League last season, will open the 2015-16 campaign playing at the Hawthorns when they meet West Brom in the only BPL game scheduled for Monday, August 10 (3:00 PM Eastern).
Despite a roster replete with international superstars, Man City weren’t able to capture any trophies last season. Manager Manuel Pellegrini was, nonetheless, resigned for two more seasons, but he’ll need to bring home some hardware this year if he expects to last.
“I know exactly how the owners think,” Pellegrini said to the Guardian. “What it means for me – it is very important for the club to trust in our work. I am very happy here also at Manchester City so if both parties are happy to continue [then good].”
Facing West Brom in their season opener is a good omen for the Citizens. Man City have dominated the last seven against the Baggies, going 7-0-0 including comfortable 3-0 and 3-1 victories last year.
West Brom finished last season 13th in the table. They don’t have any dreams of winning a BPL title this season – or even challenging for a Champions League spot – instead focusing on avoiding relegation and perhaps squeaking into the Europa League through the FA cup.
In the transfer market, the team was able to bring in two experienced players, adding Darran Fletcher from Manchester United and Rickie Lambert from Liverpool. Both are past their prime but will still be upgrades for the Baggies.
While the team may not be able to add any more significant additions before Monday’s game, manager Tony Pulis hinted that West Brom may not be finished with transfers for the year.
“Behind the scenes we are working very, very hard to get the players in that we want. It is not a case of panicking,” said manager Tony Pulis to Sky Sports. “There are targets and we are trying to get those targets in. We know who they are and we know what they need. It is just getting it over the line.”
Whether they make any more additions or not, the Baggies are going to be overmatched on Monday, talent-wise. The trends also favor City, who haven’t lost to West Brom since 2010, taking the full three points in nine of ten since then. It’s going to be ten of 11 come Tuesday morning.
Pick: Man City (-150).
(Photo credit: Дмитрий Голубович (soccer.ru) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)