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The 2018/19 Premier League title race will live very long in the memory. Manchester City and Liverpool were both relentless during the run-in and both came within a whisker of reaching the 100-point mark.
The mental fortitude that Manchester City showed to edge out their North West rivals was the main reason Pep Guardiola called last season one of his most satisfying as a manager. Guardiola would love things to be much more straightforward this time around but he’s not paying any attention to City’s billing as favourites with the bookies.
The two-time defending champions are going to be pushed every step of the way by the chasing pack led by Liverpool but the title race may well have nothing on the intensity of the relegation battle. Any number of teams could be drawn into an extended fight against the drop so football fans are hoping for yet another season full of high drama from the first match to the last.
Manchester City 1/2 (bet365)
Liverpool 12/5 (Sportingbet)
Tottenham 20/1 (William Hill)
Chelsea 35/1 (Paddy Power)
Manchester United 40/1 (Totesport)
Arsenal 66/1 (bet365)
(Please note all odds are correct at time of article publishing)
Given that Manchester City won every domestic tournament they entered last season it’s no surprise they are the odds on favourites to win the Premier League. It is, however, difficult to get overly excited about a price as short as 1/2.
Nobody at City would agree with the bookies that they have such a strong chance of completing a hat-trick of Premier League titles. The players and staff understand just how much work is required and that they are sure to go through tough spells. There are also questions about who will step up to fill the Vincent Kompany-shaped leadership void.
Then there’s the relentless pressure that comes with being the team that everybody else wants to beat. Guardiola and his coaching staff have a big job on their hands to maintain standards, especially with such a lot of resource being targeted at the Champions League.
With all that said, Manchester City remain the best team in the country. Indeed, they should cope with a slight drop in standards as Liverpool are highly unlikely to lose just one match this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men will surely lead the chasing pack but we expect them to be further behind City this season. We also think the Reds will face more pressure from below them with Tottenham ready to improve yet again.
Following their first appearance in the Champions League final and their move into the new stadium, Tottenham fans were already feeling good about the season ahead. They’re feeling even better now that Daniel Levy has spent some serious money in the transfer window. Mauricio Pochettino is intent on a title race this season and we think a bet on the Manchester City/Tottenham straight forecast is worth a play at 10/1 with Unibet.
Sheffield United 4/5 (Paddy Power)
Norwich 10/11 (Ladbrokes)
Brighton 15/8 (Betfred)
Burnley 2/1 (Coral)
Newcastle 2/1 (888Sport)
Aston Villa 9/4 (Betfred)
Crystal Palace 5/1 (Sportingbet)
Bournemouth 5/1 (William Hill)
Southampton 11/2 (Paddy Power)
Wolves set the standard for newly promoted clubs last season. It’s fair to say that none of Sheffield United, Norwich or Aston Villa are going to follow Wolves’ lead and finish seventh this time around. Villa are the best placed to make an assault on the top half having spent a lot of money over the summer but the odds suggest that it’s going to be a tough old slog for Sheffield United and Norwich.
Of those two it’s Norwich we fear for most. Yes, they played some excellent football in their Championship winning campaign but the Premier League is a whole different kettle of fish and their progressive approach could well be picked apart. Sheffield United, on the other hand, are a side unlike almost any other in the top flight. Chris Wilder gets his team playing as much more than the sum of their parts and few teams will enjoy the trip to Bramall Lane.
If Norwich look decent value to be relegated at 10/11 with Ladbrokes then Newcastle are a steal at 2/1 with 888Sport. The Magpies just about managed to keep their head above water in the last couple of seasons thanks to the brilliance of Rafael Benitez. Steve Bruce may be an experienced manager but he is going to find it very tough to keep Newcastle afloat. Bruce’s appointment went down like a lead balloon with the Toon Army and you can imagine the atmosphere turning quickly at St. James’ Park if Newcastle get off to a poor start this season.
Brighton (15/8 with Betfred) and Southampton (11/2 with Paddy Power) could also be worth small stakes plays as there is every chance their price will get shorter than that at some stage during the season ahead.
Harry Kane 4/1 (888Sport)
Mohamed Salah 11/2 (Unibet)
Sergio Aguero 6/1 (William Hill)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8/1 (bet365)
Raheem Sterling 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Sadio Mane 14/1 (Unibet)
Jamie Vardy 20/1 (888Sport)
Alexandre Lacazette 25/1 (Betfred)
If, as we suggested earlier, Tottenham are to have a good season they will once again rely heavily on the goals of Harry Kane. The Spurs captain is sure to score more than his fair share of goals in the coming months but his recent injury record suggests he is a weak favourite at the head of the Top Goalscorer market.
Mohamed Salah is another who looks a little short with the value potentially lying with his Liverpool teammate, Sadio Mane. The Senegalese forward has become a genuinely world class talent during his time on Merseyside and nobody scored more Premier League goals than him last season so the 14/1 that Unibet are quoting has to be considered very good value.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another to consider at 6/1 with William Hill. Arsenal made steps forward under Unai Emery last season and should come on again during the upcoming campaign. A top four place will be within the Gunners’ grasp is Aubameyang tops the 22 goals he managed in his first full season in English football.
Manchester City/Tottenham straight forecast at 10/1 with Unibet
Norwich to be relegated at 10/11 with Ladbrokes
Newcastle to be relegated at 2/1 with 888Sport
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be top goalscorer at 6/1 with William Hill
Sadio Mane to be top goalscorer at 14/1 with Unibet