Chelsea had a storming start to the season and at one point looked like they had the Premier League title all but wrapped up. As we know, however, Premier League trophies have never been won before Christmas, and a dip in form combined with a good run for Manchester City has made it a two-horse race again, which looks likely to go all they way to the end of the season. If you were on either of the big two before the start of the season, then you should get a good run for your money, but at this stage Chelsea are too short to back at -400 and Manchester City don’t look like the most reliable prospect to overcome a five point gap, despite tempting odds of +500
Another way of betting on the Premier League title is to wager on the market without Chelsea and Manchester City, which is effectively betting on the team to finish best of the rest (or third place unless one of the top two suffer a dramatic loss of form). This market is wide open with at least five teams in with a good chance of taking the prize. Arsenal stand out at the odds, and look to have the best squad to challenge for the minor honours this season.
To win the Premier League W/O Chelsea or Manchester City
Manchester United – +138 with Bet365
Manchester United had an indifferent start to the season, and at one point Van Gaal’s start was worse than his predecessor’s David Moyes in his sole season in charge. Since then though his team have slowly begun to improve their form, and a recent run of one defeat in thirteen has seen them rise to 4th in the table – inside the Champions League places that the club craves. However, despite their good results, the performances have not been entirely convincing. They had a run of six straight victories in November and December, but found themselves hanging on at Old Trafford against the likes of Stoke and Crystal Palace; hardly inspiring stuff. They owe thanks to goalkeeper David de Gea for keeping them in those games, and he has been papering over the cracks of United’s defensive frailties for some time. They were exposed recently when Southampton won 1-0 at Old Trafford, and although they beat QPR 2-0 at the weekend, it could have easily been a different story if Rangers had converted their chances.
Arsene Wenger’s men are currently in 5th place, a point behind Man. Utd and three points behind Southampton in 3rd. The weekend victory over Man. City was exactly what this Arsenal team needed after developing something of a complex against the other top sides over the last few seasons. It’s constantly been cited that the reason Arsenal don’t win titles is their record against the fellow big boys, and that win will have given them renewed confidence. They also had an indifferent start to the campaign, but have now won 10 of their last 13 games and have shot up the table. Wenger added some great attacking options in Sanchez and Welbeck in the summer, and both have made an impact – Sanchez in particular. Santi Carzola and Giroud are back in form, and Arsenal look to have the best squad they’ve assembled in recent seasons, and can challenge on all fronts in the back-end of the season.
Southampton have had a superb campaign up to this point, and regardless of what happens they can be proud of what they’ve achieved as a club after losing so many influential players last summer. They’re riding high in 3rd palce with 42 points, after impressive back-to-back away wins at Manchester United and Newcastle. They keep on proving people wrong and keep on getting results, and they’re now doing too well for the big boys to just assume that they will drop away at some point. Having said that, the one worry is that it remains so tight at the top. Despite their excellent season, Southampton are still only two pints above Man. Utd, and 3 points above Arsenal. When you’re in the lower reaches of the table a couple of wins can see you rise several places, but when you’re challenging at the top, the majority of teams around you win, and victories just help you keep pace. Southampton were fortunate that when they lost four league games in a row in November/December that none of the others were able to take full advantage, but if they suffer a similar drop in form they will inevitably lose ground. It’s a huge ask for their small squad to maintain this form for the rest of the season, and as much as the neutrals would love to see someone break the ‘top four’ dominance, it’s hard to see Southampton keeping it up.
Liverpool are a big price considering the basic fact that they were second-best in the league last season, but such has been their fall from grace this season, it’s hard to see them overtaking all of the teams currently ahead of them. They sit 8th in the table and a recent run of eight without defeat has seen them reach 35 points, seven behind Southampton who currently occupy third place. It’s not inconceivable that they could overcome that gap and finish ahead of the Saints, but it would be a herculean effort to finish above Man. Utd, Arsenal, and Spurs as well. They won 10 of their last 12 games to finish second last season, and it would take a run of similar proportions to overcome the rest of the teams in this market. Unfortunately for Liverpool fans, they look a shadow of that side, which was spear-headed by Luis Suarez, and they simply don’t look good enough to repeat last season’s heroics.
Tottenham Hotspur – +2800 with Skybet
Spurs are the big outsider in this market, but probably make as much appeal as any of the others after their North London Neighbours. They’re 6th in the table at present with 37 points, just 5 behind Southampton in third. A good recent run has seen them win 7 of their last 10 games, but they’ve scored several late winners, and that gives the impression that they are struggling to put games to bed. They should be in and around the top six, but will do well to out-perform Arsenal, Southampton and Man. Utd over the next 16 games.
To win the Premier League – Betting Without Chelsea or Manchester City
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.