By John O’Leary
We’ve had the first couple sets of Premier League fixtures now and after a convincing 5-0 win in their opening game, Manchester City see their odds to win the league at 2/5. Even a draw against Spurs in their second game didn’t really make a dent in the odds.
So now, according to the bookmakers, it looks like it’s a two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool with the latter priced at 12/5. But is it a done deal? Is it really that easy to pick a winner so early into the new season?
City has kept hold of all their best players this summer, and brought in some reinforcements. They signed Rodri for £62 million who has slotted straight into their midfield. So with the favourites managing to improve upon their already title-winning squad, is there any point in backing anyone else to win the Premier League?
Liverpool, once again, looks like City’s closest rivals. They finished just one point behind them last season and also went on to win the Champions League. Their squad has arguably four world-class players in Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Alisson. Jurgen Klopp’s side got off to a great start this season, beating Norwich City 4-1.
They put in the same type of ruthless performance that we saw so many times last season which also helped them secure their second win against Southampton over the weekend. The only issue for Liverpool is their squad depth. They didn’t bring in any big name players this summer and if one of their four main players were to be out injured for awhile, it could have a huge impact on their season.
Priced closest to Liverpool, but still a long way from Manchester City is Tottenham Hotspur. At 20/1 they have a good, but outside chance of winning the Premier League. Spurs had a great summer transfer window, keeping hold of their most important players and bringing in some big-money signings. Tanguy N’dombele joined the club for £55 million and looks to be the real deal.
He is a versatile midfielder who can both attack and defend, something that Spurs have been crying out for. They also signed Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso who both join with lots of high expectations. Spurs could definitely make it a three-horse race, they just need to find consistency, especially towards the end of the season, when they often tend to drop off.
The final team who could mount a surprise title challenge is Manchester United. Last season their biggest issue was their defence, and it played a significant part in their not getting a top four last position at the end of the season. While it was by no means their only problem, they have at least addressed it.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Aaron Wan-Bisakka and Harry Maguire, two highly-rated defenders who starred in their 4-0 win over Chelsea in their opener. Many thought that the score line flattered Man United, but if they can win 4-0 and still not look good, who knows how good they will be when they’re at their best?
Solskjaer’s side may look short in midfield in terms of depth, but they do have some promising players coming through the academy. Yes, it would be a huge shock if they were to come out on top in May 2020 and take the Premier League but at 30/1 (down from 35/1) they could be a great outsider bet!