Right now, the majority of British football fans are hoping, or dreading (depending on your location), that England come through their World Cup Semi-Final against Croatia. However, you can be sure that the Premier League managers and executives only World Cup concerns will be on which players to plunder before the transfer window shuts.
In a World Cup year, we tend to forget how short the off-season is. In fact, there is less than a month until the Premier League kicks off on 11th August, with Manchester City vs Arsenal the pick of the games on the opening weekend. Below we take a look at some of the odds for the new season, discussing if the bookies have it right or not. Remember, before backing anyone, check out this list of all new UK free bets which can be used on Premier League football.
As you might expect, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, buoyed after a 100-point season, are the favourites to retain the Premier League. However, the bookies have gone low on Man City – very low. 8/13 is the most common price among UK bookies, which is quite the statement of confidence.
Surprisingly perhaps, Liverpool get the nod as the team most likely to rein in City, with a best-price of 11/2 from 10Bet. Manchester United are right behind at 7/1 (Bet365). That price could certainly change if Mourinho overhauls the squad with big-money signings, so United fans would be advised to get on it now.
The Top 4 Race
It would be foolish to dismiss the chances of Arsenal and Chelsea, but bookmakers have cooled on their hopes in recent months. For Arsenal, it is a case of allowing Unai Emery time to rebuild the team. They are best-priced at 28/1 (various) to win the league, but most Gunners would be happy with a Top 4 finish (3/1 Bet Victor). North London rivals, Tottenham, are available at a tempting 16/1 (Betway) to win the Premier League. A Top 4 spot (8/11) might be a safer option, though.
The fear around Chelsea is that Roman Abramovich has lost interest in the club. Certainly, the days of Chelsea outmuscling others in the transfer market seem to be at an end. Keeping Eden Hazard, who has been dazzling at the World Cup, is key to any hopes The Blues have. They are 12/1 (various) to win the Premier League, but one suspects too that they would be happy with a Champions League spot.
Mid-Table Supremacy and Europa League
If you are a fan of Everton (6/1) or Leicester (7/1) you can get some good value from Bet365 that they sneak into the Top 6. However, the shrewd money might be on West Ham at 20/1. Manuel Pellegrini is a superb, yet underrated, manager. The arrival of Jack Wilshere looks set to help them along too. Wolves are another side on the up, and there are worse bets than the 5/4 (William Hill) that they finish in the top half.
It’s not particularly pleasing to predict teams for the drop, but it’s part of the reality of the Premier League. It’s difficult to see how Cardiff, priced at 5/6 (BetStars), can avoid being relegated. Although, they could certainly learn a lot from Huddersfield’s performances last season. if looking for a surprise candidate for relegation, perhaps Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth (5/1, Bet365) may finally run out of steam.