The last division in the English domestic season to get underway is the Premier League and it does so on Friday night but before it does there is just enough time to go through some of the ante-post markets for the division, beginning at the top end of the table.
Manchester City defended their title last season and are strong odds on for a three-peat this term, but Liverpool were right on their heels in the previous campaign and will be hoping to get the better of them this time around.
2018-19 – Manchester City
2017-18 – Manchester City
2016-17 – Chelsea
2015-16 – Leicester City
2014-15 – Chelsea
2013-14 – Manchester City
2012-13 – Manchester United
2011-12 – Manchester City
2010-11 – Manchester United
2009-10 – Chelsea
Manchester City are the overwhelming title favourites this season and in many ways that is no surprise. I guess they are always going to be the jollies while Pep Guardiola is in charge at the Etihad Stadium but what makes them particularly appealing this season is that they have plugged a concerning gap with the signing of Rodri from Atletico Madrid and they are not likely to be without Kevin de Bruyne for as long as they were last term, and even if they are they have shown they can win the league without him. They might appear short at 8/15 but it is hard to argue against the price.
Liverpool are the 3/1 second favourites to win the league and given how close they got last season that remains a fair price. It is hard to see where the champions of Europe have strengthened though and if injuries come along to key men then you wonder what they have to offer as their squad depth doesn’t look good enough, especially if that injury is to Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane or Mo Salah. Worthy second favourites but second is the best they can hope for.
Tottenham Hotspur are the 16/1 third favourites and if this league is going to be boring they are likely to finish third. The Champions League finalists should be full of confidence heading into this campaign after their run in the elite European competition last term, and also because they have finally opened the purse strings and brought a couple of very eye catching signings in by landing Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso. If Harry Kane stays fit they’ll go close.
I use the word contenders in the loosest word here because in all reality they are merely competing for fourth spot but it is Manchester United who are next in the title betting at 40/1. They have plugged their weakness in defence with the excellent signings of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in particular but whether they have enough to influence matches at the other end of the pitch having lost Romelu Lukaku without replacing him remains to be seen. If Paul Pogba has a big season they can finish fourth. That is anything but a guarantee however.
Arsenal drifted like a barge when Unai Emery said he only had £40 million to spend over the summer. Some £100m+ later he has put together a daunting looking forward line and if David Luiz can be the man to tidy up their defence then there is no reason why they won’t go well this term. It isn’t going to be boring watching Arsenal with the additions of Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos joining the pace and power that was already there. They are 50/1 for the title. That’s beyond them but the top four shouldn’t be.
Frank Lampard is the man assigned the task of getting Chelsea competitive domestically once again but he has walked into a right old situation at Stamford Bridge. He is working under a transfer ban and has lost Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata among others. The latter isn’t much of an issue but there is a light look to the Blues attack. Much as he did at Derby, Lampard is going to invest in the talented youth that Chelsea have. That will get them so far but the top four looks a tough ask let alone the title. Even 66/1 doesn’t tempt me on the Londoners.
Best of the Rest
A couple of sides standout in terms of the signings they have made this season. Leicester City made a huge one in keeping hold of Youri Tielemans while the likes of Dennis Praet, James Justin and Ayoze Perez should all boost a squad that was more than competitive last season. Brendan Rodgers is a massive upgrade on Claude Puel so I can see the Foxes having a decent season, one which might well get them back among the top six elite.
Everton have also done some excellent business in the transfer window and you could argue that in Moise Kean they got the best value for money signing of the lot. He looks a huge improvement on what they had in the centre-forward position and with the likes of Alex Iwobi arriving and Andre Gomes being signed permanently there should be a lot of optimism around Goodison Park for a big campaign. There are question marks at the heart of the defence but they should improve this term.
I don’t see anything other than Manchester City winning the title this season but we’re hardly going to get rich backing them. I also think Arsenal will finish fourth so in terms of betting it is all about which way round Liverpool and Tottenham finish. I’ve a feeling that Spurs will run Liverpool much closer this season as they improve and the Reds not quite reach the height of last season. That is a battle that could go either way though.
With that in mind I’m going to take a couple of bets which throws up either combination happening. The 10/1 on Manchester City to beat Tottenham into first and second would account for Spurs finishing above Liverpool but if it does happen that the Reds finish above Spurs then a top four exact order of City-Liverpool-Tottenham-Arsenal at 18/1 could well land too. At the prices I’ll take them as my season interests.
Top 6 Finish
Leicester City made great strides under Brendan Rodgers last season and with the Celtic boss strengthening the depth in his squad I fancy they could be overpriced for a top six finish. Clearly losing Harry Maguire and not replacing him is a huge issue but Jonny Evans is class and they all like Filip Benkovic there so maybe they will cope nicely. It is something they will rectify in January anyway so we are only talking half the season where that could be an issue. I think there is a place in the top six up for grabs with Chelsea and Man Utd looking vulnerable and with the creativity that the Foxes have, combined with the finishing ability of Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez I think Leicester could be the team to deliver the goods. Their younger players like James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Ricardo Pereira etc have all had a year in the league to assess it and thrive. The 4/1 Leicester finish in the top six is good enough to me.
Back Manchester City-Tottenham Straight Forecast for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 with Boylesports
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Back Leicester City Top 6 Finish for a 2/10 stake at 5.00 with William Hill
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Back Manchester City-Liverpool-Tottenham-Arsenal Exact Top 4 Order for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with Sky Bet