Sky Sports' first live match of the 2008/9 Premier League season will be between Arsenal and newly promoted West Bromwich Albion on Saturday 16 August at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal will, of course, be among the favorites to win the league this season, while a bleak season can only be envisaged for the 'Baggies'. It's a sad indictment of today's soccer when, even before the first ball is kicked, everyone who follows soccer knows who is likely to be at the top and who is likely to be at the bottom.

West Bromwich was a pleasure to see him during the championship last year, under Tony Mowbray they have developed a good passing style, not unlike Arsenal, unfortunately although the style of play is similar, the class difference is a separate universe.

It's sad for any neutral soccer fan to witness the effort a championship team put in to get promoted and find that they may have to do it all over again in two seasons. Not that I think the WBA will necessarily be relegated, but at the start of the season it is certainly already one of the candidates, as are its promoted rivals Stoke City and Hull City.

The big four of the Premier League will remain the big four this season, there is little doubt about that. Those behind them will make serious efforts to replace them, but by Christmas the die will already be cast and the Big Four will begin to "sharpen their knives" to play the season with Europe in mind for the next.

Certainly teams like Everton, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Man City will be challenging teams, but as usual at the end of the season they will congratulate themselves if they finish fifth, that's the secret goal of most other clubs in these. days. . The same has been happening in the SPL for decades. It's always Rangers or Celtic; the success of also rans is measured in the final position and not in the cutlery.

Therefore, one might wonder what is the point of playing. Are you in hope, are you in expectation or is it simply for the pleasure of playing? maybe it's because teams thrive on disappointment and relegation rather than challenging for the top. Do teams really want to play if their success is measured by how close they finish to the top or how far they finish above the base?

However, the football betting fraternity will do well this season. It doesn't take great insight to back the top four teams in the league, nor does it take great insight to back the three potential relegation candidates.

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West Bromwich was a pleasure to see him during the championship last year, under Tony Mowbray they have developed a good passing style, not unlike Arsenal, unfortunately although the style of play is similar, the class difference is a separate universe.