It’s that time of year again when the summer transfer window is hotting up and thoughts turn to the upcoming Premier League season. It all kicks off early this year due to the European Championships in 2016, and it’s just three week’s until the first games of the new campaign on the 8th of August. Chelsea were ominous in their pursuit of the title last year, and never looked like relinquishing the lead they built up at the start of the season. As ever, the two halves of Manchester and Arsenal provide the most realistic competition, while Liverpool and Spurs are the perennial nearly-men. It promises to be yet another fantastic season of football, and it’s the perfect time to have a few preseason bets which will offer value for money the whole season long.
The Title Race
47 teams have competed in the Premier League since its inception in 1992, but only five teams have ever won it. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal all have multiple honours, while Blackburn’s lone success in 1994/95 was the only time the trophy has left the ‘Big Four’. Interestingly, while the title has been retained plenty of times in the past, no side has won two consecutive Premier Leagues for the last six years, and the last three years have all had a different winner.
Chelsea – +163 with PaddyPower
Chelsea are naturally the favourites to keep the Premier League, and its no surprise after their dominance last year. They had a machine-like quality as they racked up the points, and were just as capable of winning 1-0 with a last-minute corner as they were of trouncing a side 4-0. Jose Mourinho has proven himself to be an incredible manager, and he has the squad to back it up. They’ve added Falcao on loan from Monaco, Nathan from Athletico Paranaense, and Begovic from Stoke. No first team players of note have left, bar Peter Cech, and Chelsea will be every bit as strong as last year. Having won the title last year, there may be more motivation inside Stamford Bridge to win the Champions League, and it is always tough to compete on both levels.
There should be much more hunger in the Manchester City squad, as they look to regain the Trophy they lost to Chelsea last year. Sergio Aguero’s iconic goal gave them the title in the most dramatic fashion in 2011/12, and they haven’t been outside the top two since then – twice finishing second and winning the title again in 2013/14. The Citizen’s have brought in Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, with James Milner going the other way, and the £49 million move is a signal of their intent. Wilfried Bony will have a crack at a first full season, and if they can keep Sergio Aguero fit, they have possibly the most natural goalscorer in the league. The failures in the league and the Champions League will have hurt the manager and the players, but City have stuck with Pellegrini and there will be no shortage of desire to bring the trophy back to the North West.
If they do go on and win it, Sergio Aguero is bound to be among the top scorers, and Betvictor offer +1000 on a Man City/Aguero Premier League and Top Scorer double.
Manchester United – +600 with Coral
The other side aiming to bring the trophy back North is Manchester United, and their spending under Louis van Gaal has been astronomical. After big money signings such as Di Maria last year, United have pushed the boat out again by bringing in Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich, Matteo Darmian from Torino, Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, and Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven. Of course, there is more to winning the league than money, but the Red Devils appear to be intent on mounting a title challenge by buying. Schweinsteiger will prove to be a valuable addition to the midfield if he can adjust to life in the Premier League, but there is still an issue in defence and until van Gaal addresses it, they can’t be recommended as a bet. If they sign a world-class centre-back over the summer, there’s every chance they can be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
The perennial theme at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger is of a side that flatter to deceive, but one that just falls short against the other top teams. It was 2003/04 when Arsenal last lifted the Premier League title, and they haven’t even managed second place since the following season. They are always a confident selection to qualify for the Champions League, but have made a habit of being not-quite-good-enough in each of the last ten seasons. Wenger’s teams play some of the most attractive attacking football in the English league, and he has a great eye for an attacking player, but it has often been in defence where the problems have been apparent. Arsenal have struggled to find a quality centre-back pairing for several years, and much like United, that problem must be addressed if they are to be considered genuine title challengers. The price is far too short to take seriously.
Any other Contenders?
Liverpool and Spurs fans will tell you that this will be their year, but the latter will find life tough unless Harry Kane continues his remarkable rise. Spurs spent the Gareth Bale money badly (which is easy to say in hindsight), but the players they brought in just didn’t make enough of an impact. Without Kane’s emergence last year it might have been a long hard season for Tottenham, and there is no guarantee he will hit the ground running in what will only be his second season at the top level. Liverpool have made some good acquisitions in James Milner, Danny Ings, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino. However, they will also have to cope with the loss of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling – which are significant losses. Liverpool have finished second on three occasions in Premier League history, and its tough to see them making the breakthrough this year.
Premier League 2015/16 Winner:
Premier League Winner/Top Scorer:
Manchester City/Sergio Aguero – +1000 with Betvictor
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