The new Premier League season kicks off on Saturday with all eyes on champions Liverpool against new boys Leeds at Anfield.
That should be a cracker – and will give us an early indication of how the Yorkshire team we all used to hate will cope in the toughest, most competitive league in the world.
With us having to wait a week before City and United start their season, that’s the undisputed game of the weekend.
Betfred not surprisingly have Liverpool 1/ 4 to start their defence of the title with all three points while Leeds are 15/2.
Mo Salah who is joint favourite at 5/1 for the 2021 golden boot is 11/4 to score first on Saturday.
Liverpool are 9/4 second favourites behind City at 8/11 with Betfred to be 2021 Premier League champions with Chelsea 10/1.
The Londoners have spent heavily and are being well backed to end the North West dominance.
My team United are handily placed at 14/1 with Betfred while Arsenal and Spurs are drifting – and are 40/1 and 50/1 respectively.
I admit I have a tendency to be over optimistic at this time of the season but with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and recently shamed Mason Greenwood looking to bounce back we have a strike force to be reckoned with.
Martial and Rashford are both 20/1 with us for the golden boot behind Salah, England talisman Harry Kane at 6/1 – and of course Sergio Aguero at 15/2.
Meanwhile credit to Warrington for carrying on despite being hit hard by coronavirus.
As head coach Steve Price said, the club has a responsibility to help keep the Betfred Super League afloat.
He said: “We’ve got to finish the season and keep people in jobs.”
That’s the can-do attitude that will help up all get through these tough times.
The club’s determination to keep on battling through adversity paid off handsomely with a morale-boosting 37-12 triumph over Hull FC that catapulted Wire to second spot behind St Helens at the top of the table.
In fact, the Wolves – ahead of Thursday’s game with Castleford – are on 14 points… the same as both Saints and Wigan, who suffered a shock defeat to bottom club Hull KR.
My home town club Salford were unlucky to lose narrowly to Castleford and remain at the bottom of the table along with Wakefield and HKR . I’m naturally chuffed that the original Red Devils have won the race to sign Kallum Watkins after his departure from Toronto Wolfpack.
In 222 Super League appearances, the 29 year old England centre scored 110 tries for Leeds – and he’s local having once been at Salford’s academy and I believe had trials for United in his youth.
Betfred still have Saints favourites to win the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, hopefully in November if government guidelines permit.
They have been cut slightly to 13/8, with Wire at 3/1, Wigan 7/2 and Catalans 7/1 – while Leeds and Castleford are both 12/1 shots.
For Thursday’s showdown at the Totally Wicked Stadium, Warrington are 4/1 to beat the Tigers by 20 points or more.
If Wire do win it will be their seventh straight victory, with last week’s triumph so significant with seven players including co-captain Chris Hill testing positive for Covid-19.
Blake Austin continues to prove what a true superstar of the game he is – and he’s 11/1 with Betfred to score first against Castleford.
Finally, I could be alone on this one but I suspect not…
I really think United and City dodged a bullet when Lionel Messi unsurprisingly decided to stay at Barcelona.
I’m not too bothered about his age – although at 33 his long-term impact has got to be a factor.
No, I don’t think United should abandon their fast attacking style to accommodate the Argentinian maestro. As for City, he’d be a good fit of course but they do already have some absolutely brilliant midfield talent, and really the Blues need strengthening in defence more than anything.