The Premiership season promises to be as intriguing as ever. The established favourites in the title race, Chelsea and Manchester United, will be casting a nervous eye over their shoulders at the potential impact of Manchester City. Previous challengers Liverpool will want to progress under a new manager and Arsenal will try and ensure their own title bid can last the distance this season. Outsiders Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton could also play a part.
The Favourites – Chelsea and Manchester United
Champions Chelsea, and Runners up, Manchester United, start as favourites for the Premier League Title. Chelsea are available a shade over 6/4, and the Red Devils are widely on offer at 5/2. With transfer activity having been fairly low key for both, the playing squads remain largely unchanged.
At Chelsea, Joe Cole and Michael Ballack have left, but Yossi Benayoun has arrived. That continuity may provide the Blues with a strong, settled start to the season. Other clubs desperate to improve their playing squads may well take some weeks to find their best form. Chelsea will rightly start this season as favourites, but 6/4 looks tight in what will be a hugely competitive season.
Manchester United have been extremely quiet in terms of transfers and seem content to stick with the squad as it is. Sir Alex Ferguson will hope the younger members of the squad such as Nani and Darren Fletcher can continue to progress, while the more experienced players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs can maintain their standards for another 12 months. 5/2 Seems a fair price – Without new signings there is a chance United could be overtaken, but it is still a very brave punter who backs against the Red Devils.
The team that provide the real ‘unknown quantity’ in the coming title race are Manchester City. Having spent vast sums over the last 18 months, the expectation for a return on that investment, as well as betsson bonus, if ever you go that path will be immense. From the outside, it still appears that signings are being made with no real thought to squad balance or a particular formation or playing style. Yaya Toure joins a growing list of defensive midfielders and they will not all get a starting berth.
Despite those reservations, City are putting together a squad of impressive talent. Should Roberto Mancini find a way of getting his side to play to it’s full potential then a shot at the title is a real possibility. Even those players not starting games will remain happy while the team is winning. The general 5/1 available on City illustrates the view that they are not seen as the finished article just yet.