Premier League Review – 1 December
As we enter the final month of 2019 we have already enjoyed more than our fair share of twists and turns from the first half of the Premier League 2019/20 season. It wouldn’t be unfair to say not a lot has gone according to plan for bookmakers and their pre-season predictions have proven to be well off the mark, at least thus far.
Manchester City was expected to flex their muscles and drive towards three Premier League titles in-a-row. They have not. Liverpool was predicted to be the best of the rest, fighting off keen interest from Tottenham and Arsenal. That’s not been the case. This was supposed to be the season we saw Man Utd return to the top of the game. Not even close.
Chelsea was marked down as a side that would struggle under the guidance of an inexperienced manager working under the constraints of a transfer embargo. Nope. Scottish football is so bad, former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would get found out when returning to the Premier League. That may be the worst of them. Yes, not a lot has gone the way we expected it to.
We Open With a Busy Week
The final round of fixtures in November was added to the books and that set up a thrilling December. We opened the show with a bang, followers of the top-flight of English football celebrating the opening day of the month with four games. A busier than usual Sunday afternoon was the result of the midweek Champions League and Europa League fixtures, teams needing time to recover from their European adventure and travel sickness.
December began with Norwich v Arsenal, Wolves v Sheffield United, Leicester v Everton and Man Utd v Aston Villa. Other fixtures of note from the weekend were Newcastle United v Man City, Chelsea v West Ham, Liverpool v Brighton, Tottenham v Bournemouth and Southampton v Watford. These games gave a feel for what to expect as we approached a hectic and vitally important festive period. December begins with matches on the opening day as well as a full midweek fixture list, scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The chance for teams to claim six points in a matter of days will make for increased efforts from the main players in the division and with the race on for position at both ends of the table, results in the first week of December could have a massive impact on how teams finish the year. The fact many will be shown live on TV, courtesy of Sky Sports and BT Sport is great news for armchair fans and sports bettors. As well as enjoying the frenzy of a busy fixture list, there’s also the chance to boost your profit margins while watching live football. Shrewd bets placed at this time of year could help pay for your Christmas expenses. At the very least you should be aiming to cover the costs of a festive night out.
Updated Premier League Betting
Bookmakers have been hard at work adjusting their outright Premier League betting market as well as the prices attached to the many specials on offer. The money men had Man City as odds-on to win the league and that stance suggested they’d do so at a canter. That’s not been the case so far, of course, and the odds have been moved after Liverpool roared into an early lead. Liverpool, last season’s runners up and Champions League winners, haven’t put a foot wrong so far.
Man City being odds on has been changed and you’ll now find Jurgen Klopp’s side as the most likely winners of the prize, according to the money men. Backers notice Liverpool at both the top of the Premier League table and Premier League outright betting table. The updated list has Liverpool as 1/2 favourites with Betfair and that’s one of the best offers available to those looking to support the current leaders in their quest to be champions following an extended absence. That’s little surprise, with the reds winning 12 and drawing one of their first dozen games, opening up a nine-point gap over the pre-season favourites.
Will Manchester City stage a dramatic comeback and win the league from under the noses of Liverpool? There’s still a strong chance as we have plenty of football to be played and, as Premier League fans know, nothing is ever decided in the division at Christmas. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, after all, and no one at the Etihad Stadium will be reaching to press the panic button just yet. Liverpool is showing no signs of slowing up but when they do hit that bump in the road, Man City must ensure they are in a position to pounce. Man City is priced at 12/5 (Betfair).
Premier League Specials
There are many ways to bet on the Premier League outside of predicting a champion and there’s no shortage of value available to those willing to work for it. Some of the Premier League betting markets you can expect to find include…
- Top goalscorer
- Next manager
- Relegation treble
- Top 10 finish
- To stay up
- To finish bottom
- Top two finish
- Top three finish
- Top four finish
- Top five finish
- Top six finish
- To finish bottom half
- Without top six
- Dual forecast
- Straight forecast
The current relegation betting has Norwich as the most likely side to go down to the Championship in spring and that is a view shared by most firms. There is no more than 4/9 available at Betfair on The Canaries dropping back into the second rung of English football at the conclusion of the season. They are followed in by Watford at 4/6 (Betfair), Southampton 13/8 (bet365) and Newcastle 5/2 (bet365). Who will suffer the embarrassment of relegation and drop in revenue as a result? Have your say on a team to be relegated, the bottom three treble or a side to finish bottom.
Top Goalscorer Betting Makes for Interesting Reading
The top goalscorer betting has been popular since the start of the season and we expect the excitement to build as the bets continue to fly in. It is a competitive market at present and there’s plenty to keep punters guessing. Leicester hero and former Premier League champion Jamie Vardy has been scratched up as favourite to win the golden boot and there’s currently no more than Unibet’s 3/1 available to those eager to get their cash down on the English striker.
He has certainly made a fast start and believes he is good enough to continue his scoring ways into the new year. It may be worth waiting until January to see how the ground lies on that one. That games come at us fast in December with teams playing between two and three league games a week. In January we will have a clearer picture of who the main runners are in the top goal scorer list. Each-way backers will get ¼ the odds a place 1-2-3, which will appeal to those chasing down a bigger price selection. There’s certainly no lack of those around.
The main danger to Jamie Vardy, according to bookmakers, comes from Harry Kane with the Tottenham man circling at 11/2 – top price at Unibet. That’s better than the 9/2 on the same player with some other firms. Kane and Tottenham haven’t been anywhere near as good as they were last season and, for that reason, we expect punters to look beyond Kane. Others near the head of the betting include Sergio Aguero at 13/2 with bet365, Tammy Abraham 13/2 (Betfair), Sadio Mane 8/1 Ladbrokes, Mo Salah 9/1 Unibet and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang who trades at as big as 10/1.
Liverpool Learns to Win Ugly
The main difference between the Liverpool team of last season and this campaign is the current squad appear to have learned a valuable lesson from the failure of spring and can now win ugly. Grinding out three points from games that would have returned one last term will be the difference between pushing Man City hard for the title and wiping the floor with the champions. So far, Liverpool hasn’t put a foot wrong and are looking every inch a team capable of holding their position and going all the way to the prize.
They began November with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday 2nd. The reds were losing 1-0 with just minutes remaining on the clock day that but dug deep to turn things in their favour. Andrew Robertson rattled in an equaliser on 87 minutes before Sadio Mane scored a dramatic winner, making it 2-1 with four minutes of injury time already played. It was hard work and Villa had every right to feel disappointed, but Liverpool didn’t give up and deserved credit for their never say die attitude. November saw Liverpool also record wins over Man City at Anfield and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Klopp’s boys beat Genk 2-1 in the Champions League but were held to a disappointing 1-1 by Napoli in front of their own fans.
Liverpool finished the month in a similar fashion to the way they started it, grabbing a 2-1 win over Brighton Saturday afternoon, although that was a far more comfortable victory than the one against Aston Villa. Van Dijk scored a double from the defence that day, hitting the net on 18 and 24 minutes. Alisson was shown a red card on 76 minutes and that allowed Seagulls to threaten, Dunk scoring on 79.
Man City Continues to Stumble
November was a month to forget for Man City fans as their club lost ground on leaders Liverpool. If Pep Guardiola and co don’t win the league at the end of the season a large portion of the blame will be put on their performances in November as they struggled to juggle a Premier League title defence with their Champions League commitments. That’s despite having one of the biggest and most valuable squads in Europe football today.
They got off the mark with a narrow 2-1 home win over Southampton at the Etihad on 2 November but suffered the humiliation of that 3-1 defeat at Anfield. That was a match they really had to win and, despite the venue, bookmakers had Man City priced as the most likely victors that day. It blew up in their faces and ending up costing traders a few quid as Liverpool eased to all three points. Not only did City lose to their main rivals for the title, but they were also completely blown away in front of the watching world.
Opposing Liverpool isn’t something bookies have done too many times since. Man City then fought back from a goal behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 at the Etihad a couple of weeks ago. In the Champions League, they drew 1-1 away to Atalanta and also fought out a two-goal draw when hosting Shakhtar Donetsk on 26 November.
Cityzens Drop Two More Points at St James Park
It went from bad to worse for the City loyal as they watched on through the gaps in their fingers as the champions dropped two more points at St James Park on Saturday. Sterling opened the scoring on 22 minutes but that was quickly cancelled out by Willems with 25 on the clock. De Bruyne put the visitors back in front but it was a case of déjà vu as Newcastle responded quickly. Shelvey netted on 88 minutes and that was the end of the scoring.
With 14 games in the books and November done and dusted, Liverpool leads the Premier League with a record of 13-1-0, gifting the reds 40 points. They are 11 better than Man City in second who have 29 points and their form reads 9-2-3. As mentioned, there’s plenty of football still to be played but there won’t be many backing Man City to turn things around.