We adore the Premier League heroes on the opening weekend, while berating the side who ruined everybody's accas
Punt of the weekend: Adama Diomande to score first and Hull City to beat Leicester 2-1 (75/1)
Not many people were backing Hull to get off to winning ways in Saturday’s early kick-off. No manager, no investment, owners that want out and a growing injury list were just some of the many reasons that put punters off the Tigers as reigning champions Leicester came to the KC Stadium.
However one punter from London did not read the script, as he stuck £2 on Adama Diomande to score first and Hull to win 2-1. There were question marks over who bagged the opening goal, as both Diomande and Abel Hernandez took flight to combine in mid-air and acrobatically beat Kasper Schmeichel. Luckily for this punter 8/1 shot Diomande was awarded the goal and Hull took a 1-0 lead into the break.
120 seconds into the second half and another slice of fortune – Leicester were awarded a penalty that Riyad Mahrez converted, however it looked like the foul on Demarai Gray took place outside the area. It didn’t bother this punter though, especially as 10 minutes later Robert Snodgrass drilled home to secure a 2-1 win for Hull. As punters everywhere screwed up their dockets, this punter managed to turn £2 into £152 on the first game of the season. Not bad at all.
Banker: Manchester City (1/4)
Punters who like to get involved in the short-priced favourites had the perfect Saturday evening lined up as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hosted Sunderland. City are Premier League favourites, while Sunderland are being tipped to trouble the bottom three again – it seemed a straightforward victory for the home side?
And it certainly started that way. Raheem Sterling was sliced down inside the box after just four minutes and Sergio Aguero does what he always does, and buried the penalty. Plain sailing from there you would have thought? But City laboured and lumbered, and never looked overly threatening. Jermain Defoe cooly slotted home to level the sides after 71 minutes and it looked like Manchester City would blow accumulators across the country.
But former Manchester United defender Paddy McNair – a man who had been on the pitch for less than five minutes – was the unfortunate one who saw a cross from Jesus Navas bounce off him and over the line with the clock approaching 90. Cue a debut win for Pep and relief for punters on City at super-skinny odds of 1/4.
Blow-out: Southampton (4/5)
Before kick-off at St Mary’s there was plenty of talk that Watford could potentially struggle in the new campaign. There were rumours that not all was well under new manager Walter Mazzarri, and despite Southampton’s usual summer of upheaval, the Saints were well-backed to get the season off to a winning start.
But less than 10 minutes into the game, that theory hit a speedbump as Troy Deeney’s header was rifled home by Etienne Capoue to give the Hornets the lead. Southampton’s summer signing Nathon Redmond volleyed in an equaliser on 70 minutes to the delight of punters with Southampton in their 3.00pm accumulators, but despite playing the last 15 minutes against 10 men after Ben Watson’s sending off Saints couldn’t get a winner.
In the end Southamtpon had 24 shots to Watford’s five – while the away side’s only shot on target ended up finding the onion bag. The Saints were a big blow-out for punters on the opening weekend.
The value bet that looks painfully obvious: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score at anytime (Evens)
Ahh Zlatan – you’ve done it again. The super Swede had already scored on his Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Champions League debuts, while he’d scored the winner in Manchester United’s Community Shield clash with Leicester at Wembley little more than a week ago.
Manchester United were 2-0 up after an hour away to Bournemouth courtesy of goals from Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney, but the stage was already set for their summer signing to light up the opening day on the coast. Ibrahimovic had already had a free-kick well saved by Artur Boruc, before he picked up Anthony Martial’s lose pass 30 yards from goal. Striding forward Zlatan unleashed a fierce daisy cutter which the Bournemouth keeper could do nothing about, and continued his incredible record of scoring on debuts.
At Even money we were mad to ever doubt the 34-year-old.
The longshot that nobody saw coming: Theo Walcott to score first and Liverpool to beat Arsenal 4-3 (375/1)
Liverpool’s record away to Arsenal is seriously poor – one win in their last 20 away league games against the Gunners makes you wonder why anyone from Merseyside was going to make the trip down south on Sunday afternoon. But boy if they did, they saw something really special.
Theo Walcott missed a penalty to start with after getting hacked down by Alberto Moreno, but two minutes later the England winger made amends by drilling past Simon Mignolet and into the bottom corner at odds of 15/2 to score first. Philippe Coutinho scored an absolute peach of a free-kick just before half-time, as he put a postage stamp on the new Premier League ball and mailed it directly into Petr Cech’s top corner.
After the oranges Jurgen Klopp’s men came out firing and three goals in 10 minutes from Adam Lallana, Coutinho, and new signing Sadio Mane put the Reds in dreamland. Despite the boos ringing around the Emirates, Arsenal staged a mini-fightback. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain danced around four Liverpool defenders before firing home, before Calum Chambers nodded in a Santi Cazorla free-kick with 15 minutes remaining. The match ended 4-3 – a 100/1 correct score bet that would have clicked a 375/1 scorecast.
Quite incredibly one punter had backed Walcott to score first and the game to finish 4-4 at 750/1 – a bet cruelly let down by Theo’s missed spot-kick. Luckily Paddy Power was on hand to pay out anyway as a hat-tip towards an incredibly shrewd punt.