With Pre-season training underway and under a month to the start of the 2015-16 season, a look at the outright market for Premier League winner
Current best prices for the 2015-16 title are as follows:
Chelsea 8/5 Coral (6/4 generally)
Manchester City 11/4 generally
Arsenal 5/1 Ladbrokes (9/2 generally)
Manchester United 11/2 Ladbrokes and Coral ( 5/1 generally)
After the “big four” the next clubs in the market are Liverpool 28-1 (Ladbrokes) and Tottenham 125-1 (William Hill and Ladbrokes) showing that the top four finishers last season are strongly fancied to repeat this.
The reigning champions are the bookmakers’ favorites again for next season.The fitness and form of their leading striker, Diego Costa (11/2 second favourite to be top goalscorer in the division with Paddy Power), will have a big impact on their results next season. If he can stay relatively injury free and continue last season’s goal scoring exploits in front of the creativity of Hazard, Fabregas and others then he will be a key player once more.
The club have only made one major move in the transfer market this season with the recruitment of Falcao from Monaco to join Remy in backing up Costa. They have a settled side with strength and depth throughout the squad.
City fans would have been disappointed with last season’s performance, despite finishing second in the league. They had a good run in the last few months of 2014, when they closed Chelsea’s early lead, but a string of poor results followed and they never really looked like they would catch up. They weren’t helped by their star striker Aguero missing so many games through injury. Aguero is the ante-post favourite for the Premier League golden boot at 7/2. This best price is only available with Bet365.
After a lot of speculation it now appears that Manuel Pellegrini will remain as their manager going into next season, and he is midway through shaping his side for the new season.
From last year’s squad, Boyata, Milner and Lampard have left. Jovetic and Dzeko may follow. City are now FFP sanction free and have signed Raheem Sterling from Liverpool and have been strongly linked with moves for Paul Pogba from Juventus
It’s difficult to make a prediction regarding where they will finish until their transfer business is done, and they may well represent a significant threat to Chelsea
Arsenal showed concerted signs in 2014-15 that the era of not being overly competitive near the top of the table was over now that the new stadium is paid for and the club has not been forced to sell any of its big stars for a couple of seasons now. They have a very settled side, with a good blend of youth and experience, star quality in Aexis Sanchez and they are looking very well positioned to resume their position as regular challengers.
The recent signing of Petr Cech from Chelsea could prove to be an important transfer as they’ve lacked a world class keeper. They could do with strengthening in a couple of other key positions and one or two additional top class players will push them right into contention. Their season may well hinge on whether they achieve this or not, but they look in good shape regardless.
Arsenal’s strong end to last season and the Cech signing have seen them shorten dramatically in price from around 7/1 to 5/1 over the summer.
Van Gaal’s side did not set the league alight last season even after some major expenditure in the transfer market, a necessity to accelerate the post Ferguson rebuild at the club. For the early part of the season the team seemed to have no real direction, and there question marks over whether Van Gaal was able to get his footballing philosophy through to his team. Their form did improve as the season went on, but they owed a lot of good results to the outstanding form of their goalkeeper David de Gea.
The continued speculation that de Gea will be moving to Real Madrid this summer is a reason why it might be hard to see that United becoming title challengers once again. Their squad still looks a little imbalanced and in need of further strengthening which has begun with the interesting signings of Schweinsteiger and Darmian. Schneiderlin and Ramos are also amongst those players linked to the club whilst departures include Van Persie.
It is impossible to look beyond these four teams for the title. I would be tempted by Arsenal if there was news of another world class central midfielder and striker being signed, whilst the changes to Manchester City’s squad are intriguing.