After a long, football starved summer, we’re back in business and the opening weekend of the Premier League looks set to serve up a few tasty treats.

Saturday’s early evening kick-off sees Arsenal return to the scene of one of last year’s most memorable games, St James’ Park. Having turned a 4-0 half-time lead into a 4-4 draw, the game showed everything that’s good and bad about the Gunners.

They might put on an entertaining show, but they still look softer in the middle than a Galaxy Caramel. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri heading for the exit door, Arsene Wenger could do a lot worse than move for Joey Barton. He’s kept me amused all summer, but more importantly he’s a quality player. This could be a good time for the Toon to play Arsenal and I wouldn’t be at all shy of laying the visitors on Betdaq at around 2.11.

Playing in the Europa League preliminary rounds means Stoke’s season has started early so Tony Pulis’ side will be well prepared when Chelsea visit the Britannia on Sunday lunchtime. The only trouble is they face a side I think will win the league this year. They can be backed at around 3.9 on the Daq to claim the title and that looks a good price to me.

The Stamford Bridge outfit would’ve done it last year but for an uncharacteristically awful run around Christmas time. I’m expecting big things from a fully-fit Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres, who should be bang on it after a good rest. Don’t get me wrong, this will be a stern examination for the Blues, but I think they will have too much for the hosts. Back Chelsea to kick Andre Villas-Boas’ tenure off with three points at around 1.73.

Sunday also sees Manchester United begin their title defence with a trip to the Hawthorns. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men delivered a statement of their intent last weekend at Wembley when they refused to lie down despite falling 2-0 behind to Manchester City. The United gaffer will have been chuffed with the manner of the comeback as much as winning the Community Shield itself. There’s no doubt they mean business once again this year and I think they will run Chelsea close.

The consolation for West Brom is that they get this game out the way nice and early. I can’t see many Baggies fans expecting their side to take anything here and neither do I. I’ll be having United at around the 1.55 mark and I’m sure they’ll be the staple of many weekend accumulators.

Betting on Betdaq – Alan’s Punts:
Newcastle v Arsenal: lay the Gunners at 2.11
Stoke v Chelsea: back the Blues at 1.73
West Brom v Man United: back United at 1.55