As the dust settles on a thrilling World Cup, the attention of football fans everywhere turns back to the domestic game. Here at Betting Sites, we begin our 2018/19 season preview with the Premier League.
Manchester City won the title at a canter last season but, this coming season promises to be a much tighter affair. Below we take a look at the league’s big six, looking at where the title could be won and lost with odds courtesy of betting partner, Bet365.
Last season: 1st
Key man: Kevin de Bruyne
Pep Guardiola’s City were the dominant team last season, amassing a Premier League record points tally. It is therefore no surprise to see the holders odds-on to retain their crown. However, no side has won back-to-back titles since their cross-city rivals achieved three in a row under Sir Alex Ferguson between 2007 and 2009.
Riyad Mahrez, league winner with Leicester City in 2015/16, has been recruited whilst the return to fitness of Benjamin Mendy will feel like a new signing for the champions.
Leroy Sane will be fresh and very much has a point to prove after being snubbed for Germany’s disastrous World Cup campaign.
Kevin de Bruyne shone for the champions last season and was equally as impressive in steering Belgium to a third place finish at the World Cup. The dynamic de Bruyne and the evergreen David Silva will again be responsible for unlocking the opposition defence whilst forwards, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, will hope to put an indifferent World Cup behind them.
Whoever Guardiola opts for as his first-choice centre forward will be in with a great chance of winning the Golden Boot.
Last season: 4th
Key man: Mo Salah
Big-spending Liverpool have fans believing that this could well be their year. The bookies’ odds suggest the Reds will be Manchester City’s nearest challenge and a near £200m summer spending spree makes its hard to disagree. Given the significant financial backing provided, Jurgen Klopp must start delivering trophies at Anfield. The number one spot was an area of great concern last season with both Simon Mignolet and Lorus Karius failing to impress. Jurgen Koop has responded emphatically by making Brazilian, Alisson, the most expensive goalkeeper in history.
Fabinho and Naby Keita will bolster the midfield whilst Xherdan Shaqiri will add competition up front.
If Liverpool are to challenge for major silverware then Mo Salah will need to repeat last season’s heroics. But, he will need support. The ferocious Reds frontline will also include Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane
At the back, Liverpool fans will hope Dejan Lovren can repeat the form shown in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final whilst Virgil van Dijk will be fresh following the Netherlands’ surprise absence from the tournament in Russia.
Last season: 2nd
Key man: Paul Pogba
Jose Mourinho is under pressure to deliver this season after a frustrating and trophy-less 2017/18. The Old Trafford faithful could only watch in envy as cross-city rivals, Manchester City, romped to a domestic double.
Manchester United were second in the league last season but the distance between them and City in first place was huge. In an effort to bridge the gap, Mourinho has recruited Brazilian midfielder, Fred, whilst a central defender remains very much on his wish list. England international, Harry Maguire, has been linked to Old Trafford whilst Spurs’ contract rebel, Toby Alderweireld, could also make a move north.
The enigmatic Paul Pogba had a stellar World Cup with champions, France, and the Red Devils will hope the see him replicate his French form back in the red of Manchester United.
In the final third, Romelu Lukaku has made the centre forward berth his own but with a wealth of attacking options available Mourinho has his work cut out keeping everybody happy. Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford are favourites to make United’s first choice eleven but where does that leave the likes of Mata, Lingard and Martial?
Last season: 5th
Key man: Maurizio Sarri
The key man for Chelsea this year will undoubtedly be new manager, Maurizio Sarri. The Italian has been drafted in to replace his compatriot, Antonio Conte and the former Napoli boss faces a huge challenge to avoid a player exodus at Stamford Bridge.
Belgian duo, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are being courted by Real Madrid whilst fellow Spanish giants, Barcelona, are apparently closing in on Brazilian star, Willian. There also remains question marks over last summer’s big money summer signing, Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard has been linked with a return to Juventus.
If all four are to leave then Sarri will have to move quickly to rebuild his Blues squad. Italian international, Jorginho, has followed Sarri from Napoli whilst Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Juventus pair, Daniele Rugani and Gonzalo Higuain, are all believed to be high on the Italian’s shopping list.
Last season: 3rd
Key man: Harry Kane
Spurs have been everybody’s second favourite team under Pochettino thanks to their exciting, honest brand of football, however they have to start delivering silverware if they are to hold onto their star players.
Harry Kane will be buoyed by his World Cup Golden Boot win and was one of several Spurs players to enjoy a fine tournament. Now Kane, Eriksen, Lloris and co will hope to replicate their international form at the brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham have achieved three consecutive top four finishes but whilst the Spurs faithful become used to seeing Champions League football the bookies’ odds suggest that the coming season may be one too far.
Last season: 6th
Key man: Mesut Ozil
This season will see the dawn of a new era at Arsenal as the Gunners begin life after Arsene Wenger. His replacement, Unai Emery, has an impressive CV and is widely respected across Europe.
The Spaniard won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before guiding Paris Saint Germain’s star-studded squad to the Ligue 1 title last season.
As Emery begins to rebuild Arsenal’s underachieving squad, several players have already arrived at the Emirates including Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Sokratis and Stephan Lichsteiner. Long-serving trio Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla have all departed.
It is widely accepted that this may be a season of stability at Arsenal after a turbulent end to Wenger’s reign. Fans may have to settle for another season out of the top four and hope for a good cup run both domestically and in Europe.
With the transfer window well and truly open and agents across the globe working tirelessly we will undoubtedly see a few huge transfers either in or out of the Premier League’s big six. Keep up to date on all the latest odds by visiting the Betting Sites blog.
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