Can anybody catch Manchester City in the Premier League?
The EPL is only nine games old but there is already an odds-on favourite for the title. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City sit at the top of the table with 25 points from a possible 27 so far and they will be difficult to catch. The Citizen’s most eye-catching result so far was their 7-2 demolition of Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on October 14th and they have netted 32 goals so far (an average of 3.5 goals per game). Kevin De Bruyne has been instrumental in their success so far whilst they have looked far more secure at the back with just four goals conceded which is significantly fewer than this time last year. They are as short as 1/8 (with Bet Victor) for the title at the time of writing but can anyone catch them?
Jose Mourinho’s side will be desperate to catch their runaway rivals but their 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield on October 21st could prove damaging. The Red Devils are still only five points behind Pep’s side and they could recover some of that ground when the sides meet at Old Trafford on December 10th. United are second favourites in the betting at 31/2 (with 10 Bet) but they cannot afford any more below-par performances this season.
The Europa League champions are also juggling Champions League commitments and have made a bright start to life amongst Europe’s elite but with early season injuries to Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly, their squad may become stretched especially over the Christmas & New Year period.
They’ll be relying on the goals of £75 million signing Romelu Lukaku this season with the Belgian netting seven times in his opening nine matches and is the 4/1 second favourite in the top goalscorer market.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side sit third in the outright betting at 41/4 (with 10 Bet) and they’ve made a decent start to the season. Unfortunately, an early season defeat to London rivals Chelsea and disappointing draws against Swansea and Burnley at their temporary home have set them back however they now appear to be hitting their stride. After holding Real Madrid to 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, they demolished Liverpool on October 22nd with Harry Kane, Dele Ali and Heung-Min Son all getting on the scoresheet.
They’ve conceded just five goals so far this season and have the imperious Harry Kane leading the line. The Englishman has netted eight goals so far this campaign and is the 13/8 favourite in the top goalscorer market. He is aiming to break the 30 goal barrier this time around after firing in 29 during the 2016-17 season.
Spurs look an excellent unit and are extremely exciting to watch but their lack of alternative striking options could count against them later in the season.
There have been murmurings of discontent at Stamford Bridge this season with Chelsea coming unstuck against both Burnley and Crystal Palace in their opening nine matches. Antonio Conte’s future is uncertain but the players proved that they have the appetite for the battle after coming from 2-1 down to see off Watford on October 21st. They’ve started the Champions League in decent fashion with victories over Atletico Madrid and Qarabag but they will need to improve their consistency in the top flight.
The Blues currently sit in 4th position and have collected 17 points so far although they failed to break down both Arsenal and Manchester City at the Bridge which is a worrying trend.
Summer signing Alvaro Morata has already notched five goals whilst perennial super-sub Michy Batshuayi has proved an able deputy from the bench. The former is 14/1 (with Bet365) to finish the season as top goalscorer in the Premier League.
Arsenal have once again flattered to deceive with their performances so far but still sit 5th with nine games played. The Gunners have been poor on their travels netting just once in their opening four matches on the road before smashing five past Everton on October 22nd. Arsene Wenger’s side have been guilty of possessing a soft-centre once again with German International Mezut Ozil regularly criticised for his perceived lack of effort in the centre of the park.
Arsenal are 50/1 (with 188Bet) to make an unlikely bid for top spot although many bettors will be eyeing up odds-against prices for them to finish in the top four.
They’ve already conceded more goals than 15th place Swansea with only Watford and Liverpool shipping more goals in the top half with the Gunner’s defensive woes appearing unresolved from last season.
Liverpool are the only other side being considered for the title although their 4-1 loss at the hands of Spurs on October 22nd has seen them pushed out to 80/1 for the title (with 10 Bet). Jurgen Klopp’s side are defensively unreliable and are averaging almost two goals conceded per game. Dejan Lovren has come in for plenty of criticism this season and the Reds are likely to strengthen during the January transfer window but it could come too late.
They’ve made decent progress in the Champions League after smashing seven past Maribor and are best price 33/1 to go all the way in the competition. Liverpool are dropping too many points this season with the likes of Newcastle, Watford and Burnley all taking at least a point from the Merseyside outfit this season but they’ve been terrific entertainment along the way.
Premier League Relegation
It took eight games (and two managers) for Crystal Palace to pick up their first points and even score their first Premier League goal and the Eagles are understandably priced at 8/11 favourites (with Betfred) for the drop this campaign. Roy Hodgson is tasked with turning things around at Selhurst Park but which other sides are in danger of finishing below the dotted line?
The Terriers made a bright start to life in the Premier League with victories over Crystal Palace and Newcastle but David Wagner’s side haven’t been able to build upon that. They did beat Manchester United at the John Smith’s Stadium and their home form will be key to their survival this year. The West Yorkshire side are 7/5 second favourites (with Paddy Power) for an instant return to the Championship but their togetherness and the quality of Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy could keep them in the league.
Paul Clement’s side have been defensively sound this season but their lack of goals could prove a hindrance in their battle for survival. The Swans are 21/20 (with 10 Bet) to slip out of the top flight and are the joint second lowest scorers in the division after nine games. Tammy Abraham is off the mark for this temporary club however returning hero Wilfried Bony hasn’t had the desired effect and is still looking to make his mark at the Liberty. Renato Sanchez is another player who has failed to shine since his high-profile move to Wales and they need to start beating the sides around them in the table if they are to beat the drop.
The Seagulls have made a mixed start to life in the Premier League but their 3-0 hammering of West Ham on October 20th showed they won’t go down without a fight. Chris Hughton’s side don’t appear to be awash with goals but they are a hard-working side and are likely to be strong at the AMEX. They held free-scoring Manchester City for 70 minutes on the opening day of the season and have remained unbeaten at home since. They are 9/4 (with Betfair) to return to the second tier but they should have enough to survive.
After the money they’ve spent, it’s unthinkable that Everton could be relegation candidates but they have collected just eight points from a possible 27 so far and have looked like a collection of individuals as opposed to a team. Ronald Koeman is a manager under pressure and his side need to start picking up points sooner rather than later. Failing to adequately replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku has been the Toffees biggest issue with the Merseysiders finding the net just eight times so far. Everton can still be backed at 16/1 with 188 Bet for relegation this season and they could be for a season of struggle if improvement doesn’t arrive quickly.
Eddies Howe’s Bournemouth should have enough to survive but they’re a frustrating team to follow. They have a number of young and talented players but have only managed to score six times in their opening nine games although the imminent return of Callum Wilson should help improve matters. Josh King will be the key this campaign but he is currently sidelined. The Cherries picked up an important three points against Stoke on October 21st and that could help kick start their survival campaign. The Dorset outfit are 11/5 (with Betfred) to finish in the bottom three this season.