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Who will win the Premier League? Betting Preview

22/7/2016
With just over three weeks to go before the Premier League kicks back into gear at the KC Stadium, when Hull City will play host to defending champions Leicester City, fans up and down the country will be chomping at their respective bits to see their new look teams in action; new look both following a flurry of Sky money fuelled transfer activity and in their playing kits, given every sides’ insistence in the 2010s that they release a new kit every 12 months and charge supporters the GDP of a small island nation for the privilege of wearing it.

The Foxes will be less than best pleased with the loss of defensive-midfielder Kante to Chelsea and head of recruitment Steve Walsh to Everton, although picking up Ahmed Musa from CSKA Moscow and Nampalys Mendy from OGC Nice may soften the blow. One anonymous punter won £200,000 from a £100 bet placed on Leicester at the beginning of last season, with their bookie-defying form seeing their odds contract significantly from the 5000/1 offered by many in 2015. However, at 28/1 to reclaim their title with Bet365 and Skybet, the bookies are cool on the idea of Leicester lifting the trophy again this time around.

Manchester City have been made slim favourites by most bookmakers to win the title in Pep Guardiola’s inaugural season at the Etihad Stadium, priced at 9/4 by Coral and William Hill. The signing of playmaker Ilkay Gundogan will fit Guardiola’s measured, possession focused approach that he cultivated at Barcelona, adding guile to the box-to-box power of Fernandinho in the middle of the park. City’s defence remains a concern, with Eliaquim Mangala looking likely to depart and no end in sight to the injury concern’s that have blighted Vincent Kompany’s career. The £50m arrival of John Stones would offer immediate improvement.

Crossing into the red half of the city, Manchester United are away to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth in their first match of the Premier League season, and are 7/2 with most bookmakers to have their first meaningful stab at the Premier League title for three years. The ongoing Paul Pogba transfer saga must now be the slowest moving thing going on at the club, with Louis van Gaal hopefully taking his fixation on aimless passing with him on his exit from Old Trafford, but it is easy to understand why José Mourinho is so keen to land the French midfielder, talismanic for France during Euro 2016. Coupled with Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the centre of the park, Pogba could be just what the Red Devils need to inject some urgency into their midfield.

Best odds of 6/1 make Chelsea third favourites for the title next season, Antonio Conte signing Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante in a bid to inject some life into a squad lethargic for worrying chunks of last season. Likely to employ a two striker system, Chelsea have been linked to Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata in the past few weeks as they seek to shore up their attacking options. Eden Hazard found the net in spectacular fashion to end Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of the title last season, and showed flashes in Euro 2016 of the form that saw him named PFA Player of the Year in 2015. If the Belgian winger can rediscover the magic that saw him briefly mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Chelsea will be a solid bet to finish in the top 4, priced at 8/13 by Betway.

While the signings of Rob Holding and Takuma Asano don’t immediately paint Arsenal as sure fire title contenders, the arrival of Granit Xhaka will add some grit to their midfield. Last season felt like a missed opportunity for Arsene Wenger’s men, finishing ten points adrift of Leicester City after leading in January. A striker more equipped to take advantage of the build-up play offered by Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez looks necessary, with Alexandre Lacazette the latest pacy front man to be linked with the Gunners. The majority of bookmakers have them priced at 6/1 to go one better than their second place finish in 2015/16.

Jürgen Klopp will have some travelling to do at the beginning of next season, his Liverpool side not playing a home fixture until their fourth game of the season on 10 September. Christian Benteke and Joe Allen look unlikely to be joining him on those initial journeys up and down the country, with the Belgian told it “makes no sense” by Klopp for him to stay, while Stoke look primed to complement their stable of ex-Barcelona players with the addition of the“Welsh Xavi”. Betfred have them priced at 7/4 to finish in the top four for the first time since 2014, while a speculative £10 bet on a title win would return you £90 and your stake from Paddy Power.

Tottenham have now wrapped up three signings this transfer window, with Marseille winger Georges-Kévin N’Koudou incoming to add to the arrivals of Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama. Tottenham’s is a first eleven that on paper appears very hard to buy to improve – not quite at the level of a Manchester City, but upgrades on the likes of Harry Kane, Erik Lamela and Toby Aldeweireld would require upwards of £50m a pop. Pochettino has had to be savvy in his recruitment, bringing in players to shore up a strong squad that he will need to marshal effectively if Spurs are to balance their Champions League commitments with a tilt at the title. They come at best odds of 9/1 from 888Sport to lift the Premier League trophy come May.

Tom Lewis
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