Football is a funny old game. These two teams were two division apart in May and now find themselves kicking off the season against one another in the same league.
Fulham would have been preparing for life in the Championship for quite some time as it seemed apparent in March that they would be falling through the trapdoor, while Barnsley continue to yoyo between the Championship and League One.
The Cottagers have had done some smart business in the transfer window, and the signings of Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert, coupled with seemingly keeping Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ryan Sessegnon at the club, represents a successful window. Most of the players who have departed were deadwood brought in before their Premier League adventure began, and they are better off without them.
Barnsley, meanwhile, have opted to bring in a plethora of young players, with 10 of their 11 new arrivals all under the age of 23. It’s a risky strategy, and they might take a while to adapt.
Verdict: Fulham to win @ 11/10
One of the strangest aspects of this summer’s transfer window has been the absolute lack of rumours surrounding Hull’s Jarrod Bowen.
Bowen was without doubt Hull’s best player last season and, had he been playing for a top six club, he would have been in with a shout of player of the season.
He is young. He is English. And he is supremely talented. Therefore, it beggars belief that no one has made a genuine effort to sign him, especially with just one year left on his contract.
Anyway, everyone else’s loss is Hull’s gain. They have done well to keep Bowen at the club and if he can fire in as many goals as he did last season, then they might have a slight chance of making a push for the top six.
He is a very attractive price to find the net on the opening day of the season.
Stoke’s summer transfer acquisitions can only be described as being very Stoke in nature. The signings of Lee Gregory, Stephen Ward and Tommy Smith in particular were very much peak Tony Pulis-era signings.
However, Stoke have also managed to snap up Nick Powell who has been excellent for Wigan in recent years and the overall evaluation of their summer has to be a positive one, especially considering they have appointed Nathan Jones as manager after he guided Luton to promotion.
QPR, on the other hand, have signed 14 new players and seemed hellbent on signing every centre back or defensive midfielder they could get their hands on. The signing of Jordan Hugill from West Ham will prove to be a very good one and under Mark Warburton, they should thrive this season.
But 14 new players need time to gel, which gives Stoke the edge on Saturday.
Verdict: Stoke to win @ 8/11
Brentford could well be one of the dark horses for a play-off place this season. They have signed well and have spared no expense in their recruitment. The signing of Pontus Jansson from Leeds was a real coup, and it was important that they managed to keep hold of Neal Maupay after a devastating season in front of goal.
The same cannot be said for Birmingham. After a 17th placed finish last season that was largely due to a mid-season points deduction, Birmingham have lost Che Adams to Southampton. Whether they can replace him or not remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely.
Birmingham are one of the favourites to be relegated to League One and it is easy to see why. Realistically, they will lose this opener and start off on the worst possible foot.
Verdict: Brentford to win @ 8/13
*Prices correct at time of publishing and this accumulator works out at 19/1