Premier League – Can Man City do the Treble?
The 2019/20 English Premier League season gets started on Friday 9 August when Liverpool host Norwich at Anfield in a match that’ll draw a bumper audience due to the live TV coverage offered by Sky Sports. It’s a welcome return for domestic football following a long summer drought and Friday’s fixture will be the start of 10 games played in the English top-flight over the course of the weekend, with no less than five shown live thanks to BT Sport and Sky Sports.
What can we expect between now and spring of 2020? It’s anyone’s guess at this point but one thing is guaranteed, we’ll get another campaign of drama, excitement and major talking points as the biggest names in English football battle for silverware, both domestically and on the continent. Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are all in the running for the Champions League crown.
Recap of Last Season
The 2018/19 season was one of the most dramatic in living memory with the title race going right down to the wire. Manchester City were pre-season favourites to win two-in-a-row but was made to work for their prize by a Liverpool side who refused to roll over. In the end, the title was won by the Cityzens on the final day of the season, achieving their aim and proving the bookmakers to be a shrewd bunch despite losing more times than The Reds.
Liverpool finished second, coming painfully close to ending that long wait to be crowned kings of English football again. They had more joy on the continent, however, Jurgen Klopp’s side following a 2018 runner-up spot behind Real Madrid with a winner’s medal this year, beating fellow Premier League side Tottenham in what was a tense final in Spain. That match never really caught fire and lived up to the expectations, but it was a game where the best side on the day lifted the day trophy and there could be no arguments from either side.
Chelsea rallied, against all expectations to finish third in the Premier League and were followed home by Tottenham, the Londoners holding on to secure their place in this season’s Champions League where they’ll get another crack at winning it. Manchester United and Arsenal both came up short in their drive for a return to a place in the top-four and the Champions League football that accompanies it. That’s something both teams will aim to remedy this time.
Bookies Have their Say
No sooner had last season’s results been added to the book than traders had gone up with their thoughts on how this campaign will go, affording punters an opportunity to get in early to secure a better price about their prediction. The earlier you bet the bigger the odds on your team of choice and that’s the reason many backers like to get their cash down in pre-season before a ball has been kicked in anger. Who will be the big winners and the sorry losers of the coming campaign?
The money men have, once again, thrown the weight of their support behind the chances of Manchester City and price them as odds-on favourites. It’s a confident call by those sitting on the trading floors of major firms and the odds-on about a team who got the nod in a photo finish last season will scare many off. Man City’s recent form and dealings in the summer transfer market make it increasingly difficult to argue against that point, however.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that The Cityzens deserve to be strong favourites, just how strong is open to interpretation and will decide if you will back the jolly or go for a plucky outsider. 10bet offer 1/2 on three-in-a-row for Man City and that appears to be the general idea in the betting ring at present.
Liverpool Will Be Stronger
We saw Liverpool go one better in the Champions League when following a silver medal finish behind Real Madrid with a win over Tottenham in this year’s final. Will they do the same thing in the Premier League? Liverpool remains one of world football’s most successful teams but their wait for the English crown goes on and on. It has been a frustrating time for followers and there were many who thought the agony was at an end last season, but it wasn’t to be. Jurgen Klopp’s side is a talented bunch who work hard for each other and it’s that togetherness that sets them apart from much of the competition.
They lost fewer games than any other side in the Premier League during that failed title tilt, but it was the draws that cost them dearly. The ability to turn one point into three, snatching a late 1-0 win from a game that has 0-0 written all over it, is the difference between champions and also-rans. Liverpool would’ve realised that when the dust settled in spring and Klopp will now go about fixing the leaks and making his side more adventurous going forward while remaining difficult to break down. Bookies have Liverpool priced at 11/4 with 888Sport to win the league this season.
Lampard Takes Charge
Frank Lampard has taken charge at Chelsea, much to the delight of fans who remember him as one of the best players who ever turned out for the blues. He’s still inexperienced as a manager but has been tipped for the top and seems willing and able to take on the Chelsea job. Gaining success this season is no mean feat with the Londoners hampered by a transfer embargo, but the Englishman isn’t dwelling on what he can’t change. He has a decent squad, despite Hazard leaving for La Liga, and is itching to get down to business. Chelsea is 35/1 with Betfair to win the league.
Others in the outright betting worth a mention are Tottenham who has been priced up as 18/1 third favourites with Skybet. Manchester United have a 40/1 price tag attached by traders at Ladbrokes and that’s to catch the eye of value hunters. Arsenal has been written off as 66/1 no-hopers, which looks a little unfair. Improving enough to win the league is a big ask but it’s not impossible, especially if they can get off to a strong start.
Promoted Sides Expected to Struggle
At the opposite end of the table, we find the relegation betting where punters are challenged to pick one of the three teams that will be dumped into the Championship at the end of the season. Sheffield United was promoted last term, but are favourites to go straight back down by finishing in the bottom three of the top division. Betfair offers 8/11 on Sheffield United and that’s better than the 4/6 you’ll get with most other firms.
The Blades will be eager to shake off that tag and perform better than expectations but will quickly realise the gulf in class that exists between the Championship and Premier League. Norwich is second in line and has been chalked up at even money (Betfair) to take the dive by finishing 18th, 19th or 20th. We then have Burnley at 2/1 with Ladbrokes and that’s the market best price at the time of writing. Shop around, you won’t find a more generous quote about Burnley going down.
The top goalscorer betting is headed by Harry Kane who is 4/1 top price with bet365. The Tottenham striker is good enough to win the golden boot but must remain injury-free as long as possible. He sits ahead of Mo Salah at William Hill’s 5/1, Sergio Aguero 6/1 (Betfair) and you’ll get a cracking 14/1 with Ladbrokes on Raheem Sterling.