It’s impossible to look beyond the big-5 of Arsenal (13/2), Chelsea (2/1), Liverpool (12/1), Manchester City (5/2) and Manchester United (5/1), with Liverpool and United looking the easiest two to rule out. Liverpool surely can’t replace last season’s 31 goals brilliance or brilliance of Suarez and, as yet, haven’t even tried, whilst surely even Louis van Gaal can turn United into true title contenders again in his first season.
Manchester United (6 times) and Chelsea have both previously retained a Premiership Title, but that means that winners have failed to retain it 14 times – meaning City may struggle to defend. Chelsea and Arsenal have also both considerably strengthened their squads in the close season and may well duel it out for this year’s title. Chelsea are just preferred as manager Mourinho’s tactical awareness may prove too much for Arsene Wenger’s ethos to entertain at all costs. Meanwhile, Arsenal can be backed at 15/8 without City and Chelsea – which looks fantastic value.
Arsenal without City & Chelsea 15/8
Hopefully the bottom-of-the-table battle will be every bit as exciting as the top but, whilst there are several candidates including QPR, West Brom, Aston Villa and Leicester – Burnley look certainties to return to the Championship next year as they don’t have the funds to make the necessary improvements to their squad. 8/13 looks a great price.
With last season’s top-scorer Luis Suarez (31 goals) departed for Barcelona, 2011/12 and 2012/13 leading scorer Robin Van Persie heads the market at 5/1, with Sergio Aguero (11/2) Daniel Sturridge (7/1) and Diego Costa (7/1) close behind. If all stay fit, it’s possible they will fill the top-4 spots, but there may be a little bit-of-value deeper in the market. Everton striker Romelu Lukaku (20/1) may prove a real handful for defences this year and is sure to play every week if fit, whilst Andre Schurrle made a real impression on me during his performances at the World Cup and, at 80/1 each-way four places, he’s a value stab.
Lukaku 20/1 each-way
Andre Schurrle 80/1 each-way
This Weekend’s Matches
On Saturday United (4/11) host Swansea whilst Arsenal (3/10) entertain Crystal Palace, whilst on Sunday Liverpool (3/8) are at home to Southampton. Sunday also sees City (9/13) travel to Newcastle whilst, on Monday, Chelsea (2/5) play their opening game away at Burnley.
The circa 4/5 that Arsenal and Chelsea looks the best value, whilst I wouldn’t put anyone off the 5-timer (especially with some firms offering acca bonuses) at around 11/2.
Arsenal and Chelsea double 4/5