The 2017/18 Premier League Season starts on Friday 11 August – and the question on the lips of all football punters is who’s going to win the title?
23 of the previous 25 Premier League Seasons have been won by either Manchester United (13), Chelsea (5), Arsenal (3) or Manchester City (2) but, with Blackburn winning in 1995, and Leicester lifting the title in 2016, many punters may choose to throw a few pounds at an underdog. Either way, it’s time to take a look at the main challengers.
Manchester City 19/10
Manchester City have won 2 of the last 6 Premier League titles, but the general feeling is they should have won more. They were extremely frustrating last season after a great start but, whilst they lost their way in the middle of the season, Pep Guardiola seemed to learn plenty about the Premier League in that time, as his side lost just once in their last 17 games. Guardiola has also wasted no time strengthening his side where he thought it was needed, and Ederson’s arrival to replace Bravo in goal, and the arrival of fullbacks Mendy and Walker should mean City concede less than the 39 goals they did last season. Guardiola will also be praying that Gabriel Jesus stays fit this season, as the Brazilian seemed to find his feet instantly in the Premier League last season before injury stopped him in his tracks.
The Premier League Title has been won back-to-back 6 times in 25 seasons and, whilst Manchester United were responsible for 5 of those title defences, Chelsea also managed it in 2006. However, no team has managed it since 2009, and Chelsea will be without the services of top-hitman Diego Costa this season. However, despite frequently dropping points against top-6 opposition, Chelsea’s ability to beat the poorer Premier League teams meant that they posted a best ever 30 wins in the Premier League, and fell just two points short of the 95-points record haul for a season.
Manchester United 9/2
Europa League and League Cup Victory meant Manchester United enjoyed a relatively successful season last year, but sixth place in the Premier League was a bit of a disappointment for Jose Mourinho. However, if history is to repeat itself, United fans could be celebrating Premier League success this season – as Mourinho has an unbelievable record of winning the League Title in his second season at a variety of clubs, including Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He’s also signed Lukaku who, though he may yet to prove he’s one of the world’s best strikers, has a brilliant record of scoring against average opposition – something which may mean United avoid drawing 10 home games like they did last season.
Mauricio Pochettino has quickly established himself as a top-class manager, and third and second place finishes for Tottenham mean they have every right to be classed as potent challengers for this season’s Premier League Title. A young improving side may not have been strengthened particularly, but in Harry Kane they have a forward can maintain a serious challenge. However, the fact they will play their home games at Wembley is very off-putting.
Community Shield glory may tempt a few to back Arsenal, but last season’s stats are quite damning. 44 goals conceded suggests they have too many holes at the back, whilst they achieved a lot less shots on target than the other big-name teams. Considering that the restless Alexis Sanchez also scored a third of their goals last season, they could be in trouble if the Chilean Hitman exits for new pastures.
Jurgen Klopp has a brilliant record against other big clubs, but they’ll need to concede less than the 42 goals they conceded last season. They’ll also probably need at least one striker to step-up and score more than 20 goals, as the best tally of any Liverpool player last season was 13. The added pressure of Champions League football this season may also be distracting as they go in search of their first Premier League Title.
Surely lightning can’t strike twice for Leicester, though the Foxes made a massive second-half of the season improvement after Claudio Ranieri departed. Southampton also have possibilities, but former Manchester City boos Manuel Pellegrino will probably be considered a success if he can breach the top-6. Everton are also fancied to do just that though by many, but it remains to be seen if the return of Wayne Rooney can make up for the loss of Lukaku.
Chelsea look one to avoid purely on the recent poor record of teams defending the Premier League Title, whilst Tottenham’s move to Wembley, and Arsenal’s poor statistics from last season are off-putting. Meanwhile, Liverpool look capable of stepping-up on last season’s fourth place if Klopp shores up his defence, but the title may become a shootout between Manchester rivals City and United. City look to have the best squad, and it would be no surprise if they took this season’s Premier League season by storm. However, with Mourinho having such an excellent second-season record at clubs, and Manchester United looking to have the easiest start of the big teams – Manchester United look the value-bet at the prices at the moment.