Whisper it quietly, but last season’s English Premier League campaign was something of a disappointment for the neutral.
After all, Manchester United had led the Premier League table by just two points from eventual champions Manchester City after a 0-0 draw at Anfield on January 17th, with just five points separating the top six at the same stage.
However, a run of 15 consecutive Premier League wins between December 19th and March 2nd set the Citizens on their way to a comfortable triumph, as they eventually topped the table by 12 points ahead of United. But what will the 2021/22 campaign have in store?
Who are the EPL Favourites This Time Around?
The new EPL season is now barely five weeks away, and the EPL markets at My Betting Site UK currently has City as the overall favourites to retain their hard-earned crown.
However, City have yet to conclude any transfer business this summer, with prime targets Harry Kane and the mercurial Jack Grealish both currently involved in the European Championships for England.
What’s more, both of these deals could potentially involve fees in excess of £100 million, while there may be limited time to complete the moves with England in the final of the Euros.
Conversely, second favourites Liverpool have already completed the shrewd, £35 million signing of French centre-back Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, while they’ll also welcome back long-term injury absentees in the form of Joe Gomez, skipper Jordan Henderson and the irreplaceable Virgil Van Dijk.
Sure, this has been offset by the loss of Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer to PSG, but Thiago Alacantra is sure to improve in his second season and provide a measure of control to the Reds’ midfield.
The success of Thomas Tuchel during the second half of the season at Stamford Bridge will also have excited Chelsea fans ahead of the new season, especially as the Blues lifted their second Champions League title and defeated Manchester City three times in different competitions during the final two months of the year.
While Chelsea have yet to make any concrete moves yet, the acquisition of a clinical, world class striker and authoritative centre half could well see the club’s current odds of 9/2 fall significantly in the coming weeks.
Could Solskjaer End his Trophy Drought?
Despite finishing second last season, United are only 9/1 and fourth favourites to prevail this time around, with this having much to do with doubts over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s credentials as an elite-level coach.
These doubts will only have been compounded by United’s abject failure in the Europa League final against Villareal, while the Reds’ lack of attacking consistency and identifiable style of play has also been blamed on the wider management team’s lack of coaching expertise.
Given this and the likely improvement of their closest rivals, it seems as though United are unlikely to challenge seriously for the title this time around.
This is even accounting for the long-awaited signing of England winger Jadon Sancho, as there remains a pressing need for United to sign a dominant (and quick) centre-back alongside a deep-lying playmaker who can set tempo in and out of possession.
Elsewhere, Leicester remain the most likely outsiders to challenge for the title at odds of 50/1.
Despite their failure to land a UCL place in the last two seasons, the Foxes have spent a staggering 567 days in the top four since the beginning of 2019/20 (more than any other side), while they also earned an historic FA Cup win in May.
They’ve also added the exciting Zambian striker Patson Daka to their ranks this summer, while the potential acquisition of Philippe Coutinho could create a compelling X-factor for Brendan Rodgers’ team.
If you’re looking for a dark horse that could break into Europe this season, Aston Villa may be your ideal bet.
The Villans have already added the impressive winger Emi Buendía to their ranks this summer, and if they can hang on to the mercurial Grealish and energetic forward Ollie Watkins until the end of the window, they could be a force to be reckoned with in 2021/22.Follow paulmbanks