Tony Pulis enters his second season in charge of West Brom as they take on last season’s runners-up Manchester City.
West Brom have spent £12.5m on three summer signings including £8m on James Chester from Hull, making him the second biggest signing in the club’s history. Rickie Lambert has been signed on a permanent deal from Liverpool while Wigan duo James McClean and Callum McManaman has also been signed.
Manchester City have done their summer transfer business firmly with the Premier League and UEFA homegrown quotas in mind. Fabian Delph, Patrick Roberts and club record signing Raheem Sterling have all been added as City aim to mount another Premier League title bid.
Manchester City won both Premier League meetings between the sides last season.
Joleon Lescott is a doubt to face his former club in West Brom’s opening game of the season on Monday.
The defender missed two days of training this week with an undisclosed injury but manager Tony Pulis is hopeful he will return to face City.
Lambert, McClean and Chester stand by to make their debuts but Serge Gnabry, on loan from Arsenal, will be unavailable for the match.
Manchester City will be without new signing Delph and defender Gael Clichy. Delph is still suffering from the hamstring injury suffered on debut in a pre-season friendly against Real Madrid a fortnight ago while Clichy has an ankle problem.
City have no other fitness concerns, with striker Sergio Aguero and David Silva and Samir Nasri having overcome the sickness bug that affected them in midweek.
Each of the last five Premier League champions have started their title season on Monday Night Football.
Eleven of the 23 Premier League champions finished the previous season as runners-up, making second-placed teams more likely to win the next title than teams finishing previous season as champions (seven times) or third (five times).
Man City have won last seven league meetings, scoring 19 goals and conceding five.
West Brom have taken only two points from their opening four league encounters in each of last two seasons and have not won a Premier League match in August since their opening day 3-0 win against Liverpool in 2012.
This is a hard game and I think Man City will just edge this one, but a hard game nonetheless. Tony Pulis will have Albion very well organised, make no mistake about it. I think this game is perfect for West Brom, not like Norwich’s game with Palace – where Norwich will be expected to go at Palace. West Brom fans will allow their team to sit deep, counter attack and frustrate City. I expect City to just have enough, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this ended all square.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)
Sky Bet make West Brom 9/2 shots to upset 8/13 favourites Manchester City in their season’s opener on MNF with the draw available at 14/5. City are 5/2 second favourites in the outright betting to regain the Premier League with West Brom 100/30 to finish in the top half. City have won on their last three visits to The Hawthorns and are 9/4 to score three or more goals in the match with the Baggies 17/2 to spring a surprise and win with both teams finding the net. Sky Sports football pundit Jamie Redknapp is backing the Citizens to win 2-0 at 7/1 and Yaya Toure to score first at 7/1.
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