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Who are the early favourites in the Premier League?

The Boot Room

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The Premier League is underway and already the two Manchester clubs, City and United, are the current favourites to win the 2017/18 title, despite reigning champions Chelsea turning in a strong performance against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, on Sunday, earning a maiden three points for the season.

Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils currently occupy top spot, having earned three points with two emphatic 4-0 victories over West Ham United and Swansea City. Having scored eight, and conceded none, the Old Trafford outfit appear to have shaken their inability to convert chances, which cost them dearly throughout the 2016/17 campaign.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, meanwhile, started the campaign with a convincing 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, during which they dedicated proceedings, despite the Seagulls setting up with 11 men behind the ball, before playing out a 1-1 draw with Ronald Koeman’s Everton side in front of the Monday Night Football cameras.

Elsewhere, Huddersfield Town have enjoyed an excellent start to life in the top flight, following successful encounters with Crystal Palace and Newcastle United. David Wagner’s side have really taken to the Premier League, and could prove to be the surprise package of the 2017/18 campaign.

Nonetheless, in spite of their positive early season form, Huddersfield find themselves among the bookmakers favourites for relegation this season, alongside fellow promoted sides Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion are also sitting pretty with six points, thanks to impressive early wins against Bournemouth and Burnley. Meanwhile, Watford and Liverpool chase the leading pack with four points each. The aforementioned pair held each other to a 3-3 draw on the opening weekend.

We are only two games into the new Premier League season and yet we have already been treated to a number of pulsating fixtures. A number of teams are showing positive form early on, but the English top flight is a marathon, not a sprint. With an exemplary record to date, Manchester United appear the early favourites with all the sportsbooks for the title, but a huge amount can change over the coming eight months.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Chelsea

Crystal Palace’s hopes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek return boosted after latest comments

The midfielder is unlikely to get what he’s after at his parent club.

Jamie Watts

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek has boosted Crystal Palace‘s hopes of securing his services for another season, after claiming he will only remain with Chelsea this summer if guaranteed a regular first-team spot at Stamford Bridge next season, in quotes via Sky Sports.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Selhurst Park after making just 31 appearances for Chelsea since his debut in 2014, and his immense talents have earned him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this World Cup.

Photo: Getty Images

“I want to play as much as I can,” revealed Loftus-Cheek. “Even this past season just gone, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because of injuries. So I still feel I need a proper season of playing, wherever it is.”

Loftus-Cheek made 25 appearances for Roy Hodgson’s outfit last term, and is still unhappy with the amount of minutes he managed, so it’s pretty safe to assume Chelsea – given the disastrous domestic season they’ve just had – won’t be bettering his previous return, or be prioritising taking chances on academy products next season.

And Palace will be keen to offer the stylish midfielder a deal to extend his stay with the former England manager, where, if available, he will continue to be considered one of the first names on the team-sheet.

Photo: Getty Images

Palace are likely to face competition from rival clubs though, as Loftus-Cheek is emerging as a star on the biggest stage of all in Russia; having flourished in his brief cameo against Tunisia. And he’s now considered likely to start against Panama, with Dele Alli nursing a slight injury.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa could reportedly owe John Terry £560,000 in wages

The owner may have to sell shares in the club.

Jamie Watts

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Aston Villa’s financial mess looks likely to continue, as the cash-strapped club could now owe captain John Terry a whopping £560,000 in wages, unless he transfers to a different club this summer, according to reports from the Telegraph.

Villa are said to have reached an agreement with HMRC to postpone a payment of £4 million last week, but a further payment is expected this week and the club owner Tony Xia may have to go as far as to sell shares in the club to ensure all debts are paid.

The ex-Chelsea legend announced his impending departure from the midlands club last month, after they failed to secure Premier League promotion in the play-offs and his current contract is due to expire at the end of the month. But he is said to be entitled to a further month’s pay.

Photo: Getty Images

His weekly-wage packet was said to be worth £70,000 at Villa Park, meaning the overdue payments from the last two-months add up to over half-a-million for the 37-year-old defender. However, the outstanding July payment will only stand if Terry retires or remains a free-agent, meaning Villa will be keen to land him a new club.

Villa reportedly need £40 million in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations (Birmingham Mail), after gambling that they would gain promotion to the Premier League this season.

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Chelsea

England must start Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Panama reveal tactics

England must opt for creativity after the Panama captain’s comments

Jamie Watts

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Panama have revealed plans stifle England with a physical approach in their upcoming clash on Sunday, in quotes from captain Roman Torres on the Telegraph, and Gareth Southgate should ensure the Three Lions’ approach is suited to the style of opponent.

The Central Americans were beaten 3-0 by a star-studded Belgium outfit on Monday in their World Cup debut, meaning a win against England is pivotal in ensuring they remain in the competition beyond the group stages. And England will have a tough task taking the lion’s share of points on the day.

“England are a bit more direct than Belgium. They try to make use of the pace they have. We’ll need to be compact and limit their space,” revealed Torres told the Telegraph.

Photo: Getty Images

And as a result England must employ the right tactics. Creativity and bravery will be key, as they will undoubtedly have the majority of possession, and Southgate will want to make it count. Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added instant impetus to a languid outfit, after coming on late against Tunisia.

The team’s performance became full of purpose and directness in the last 20 minutes, with both taking the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and creating, and from that arrived the corner and subsequent winner from Harry Kane.

Photo: Getty Images

The end product from the likes of Rashford was missing in the opening stages of the game also, as team-mate Jesse Lingard squandered a number of key opportunities to put the game to bed early, and Southgate will not want a repeat this time around.

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