The Premier League kicks off on Saturday August 18th, and in their first game back at this level, Reading entertain Stoke City at the Madejski Stadium. Who will get their 2012/13 campaign up and running at the first time of asking?
Betpal Football Tip
Match: Reading v Stoke City
Tip: Reading Win
Odds: 2.5 (6/4) at Coral
Reading v Stoke City
The gulf in class between the top of the Championship and the bottom of the Premier League has appeared to close over the last couple of seasons, and the promoted clubs are no longer seen as cannon fodder, nailed on for a swift return to the second tier. Reading can illustrate the point by claiming all 3 points in their curtain raiser versus Stoke City at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading secured promotion last term thanks largely to some impressive home form, where they won on 14 occasions. After some astute work during the summer, the Royals squad appear well equipped to do better than merely survive in the Premier League and in the likes of Jem Karacan, they have quality players who have gone under the radar of more wealthy clubs looking to strengthen.
Stoke City have been notoriously poor travellers for some time, and last season they were beaten 11 times on the road. The lack of transfer activity has some commentators predicting a season of struggle for the Potters this year. Their physical approach is unlikely to ruffle their opponents either – Reading equipped themselves well against similar sides last term, even doing the double (3-0 and 4-2) when they faced a West Ham side under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce.
Side with the Royals in the season opener. Stoke picked up just a single win in 19 games on the road last term, and Reading can continue the trend for sides bringing their promotion winning form into the following campaign. They are a best price 2.5 (6/4) with Coral.