Last season Man C won the league by 19 points losing two league games and of course having gone off last season 11/8 we see they are best priced 4/6 prior to 2018-19. No surprises there.
The market beneath them:
Man U 7/1
Is there anything to go at here, perhaps with an eye on the each-way market offering 1/3 two places?
Last season Liverpool finished fourth, six points below United who finished second. Of course we all know that Liverpool have strengthened in the summer with Keita and Fabinho in midfield and Shaqiri another option up front. It was the £67m purchase of Roma/Brazil’s Alisson that caused the ante post price to move under 5-1 though
We know they’ll create lots of chances, will score lots of goals and have looked immeasurably sturdier at the back since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk back in January. VVD was signed on Jan 1st and in the 16 league games through to the end of the season Liverpool conceded 13 goals with 9 clean sheets. Before his arrival Liverpool conceded 25 goals. Now there is a reliable goalkeeper to add to that.
Alisson s a better shot stopper than any of Liverpool’s existing keepers and is also a distributor. Last season he completed 56% of his long passes in the league and Europe compared to Karius’ 28%. I think we can assume that Alisson is going to be a net positive in terms of gaining points and this was a team that only lost five games last season anyway.
Keita was arguably the best midfielder over the last two Bundesliga campaigns, he won possession in the middle third at least 50 more times than any other Bundesliga player in the last two seasons (297), he is also effective in the attacking third with 26 goals and assists from 58 league games in that time.
Fabinho from Monaco is Emre Can’s replacement. Capable of playing at right-back, Fabinho has really developed into a commanding midfield presence in the last two years. With Jordan Henderson expected to be given an extended break following the World Cup, Fabinho will almost certainly feature regularly at the start of the campaign
Unlike their Premier League rivals, Liverpool are benefitting from the fact a lot of their key players have enjoyed full summers off. Virgil Van Dijk, Adam Lallana, Andrew Robertson, Joel Matip, Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Milner will all have had full pre-seasons by the time the season starts, while Mane and Salah have been involved in the pre-season tour to the US. I don’t think you even have to assume that Salah replicates his golden boot performance from last year to assume that Liverpool will be City’s nearest challengers
After a gross transfer spend of £867m since Fenway’s arrival in 2010 and £269m net, and the recent pick up in spending in part a reaction to needing to do so to challenge Manchester City, it looks like Liverpool finally have the squad to challenge. Winning trophies is a reasonable expectation for the next stage.
Manchester United did finish second last year, though the table flattered them somewhat; they lacked creativity, often failed to kill teams off and I think Liverpool will improve past them.
For Tottenham Pochettino has put together a first choice side that has very few weaknesses; they’re strong at the back, are good in possession, and of course a fit Kane is good for 30+ goals. However, unless they attack the transfer market over the next three or four weeks, they club may just lack the squad depth to lay down enough of a serious challenge and much like Arsenal when they moved to the Emirates, the immediate consequences of the new stadium move will lead to mixed priorities for club spending
So overall, looking at the “without Manchester City” market
Liverpool “without Manchester City” 5/4 Bet365
Top Six Finish
The top six for this season is set, presumably? Both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal.
The market assumes so, the six clubs above are 1/3 or shorter (1/7 bar Arsenal) to finish in those positions.
Is there a case that Chelsea or Arsenal (I assume the other four are “locks”) fall out of the top six?
I raise the question because Chelsea have appointed Sarri late in the off-season and have around 30 days to retain all or some of Courtois, Kante and Hazard
Meanwhile Emery has been in place at Arsenal for longer but is succeeding a long term manager and at least some dislocation in style appears possible.
For both clubs at new cycle of management is about to start and at least in theory I would suggest that there is the chance of a period of consolidation possible at one or both clubs.
If that is the case then is there a candidate to usurp the status quo? The answer has to be “not many” but at 11/2 for a top six finish I will make the case for Everton.
I saw Everton live three times last season. Once pre Allardyce, twice after. The key point on each occasion was that the team was particularly short of pace, and the attacking build up was glacial. Rooney (searches for right adjective) glided (probably not the right adjective) slowly in a second striker position and assorted strikers I saw (until subsequently Cenk Tosun showed some signs to encourage in late season) struggled to adapt to the Premier League.
Yet aside from some of these problems a lot of the groundwork had been laid since the new owners and their considerable finance arrived at the club, the positive effects of which had been postponed by managerial difficulties and injury. In the transition from Howard, Baines, Jagielka and the like the early recruitment process had brought in talented young players like Pickford, Michael Keane, Idrissa Gueye , Bolassie and Lookman to complement the players emerging from a talented crop of youth players such as Tom Davies. It was then supplemented by marquee signings such as Sigurdsson.
Now of course Rooney has gone, Marco Silva has arrived six months after Everton’s first attempt to get him and whilst we might raise our eyebrows over the transfer price for a player such as Richarlison, Everton have been competing for names like Malcom, Zaha, Lascelles, Gomes and Mina
We are certainly going to see a faster playing style, for example all the signs from the Bundesliga last year are that Lookman should have an impact back from his loan, and the side is shorter than a 11/2 shot to finish 6th.
Everton to finish in the top 6, 11/2 Betfred