Predicting the 2016/17 Premier League title winner
The 2016-17 Premiership season is shaping up to be the most exciting in years, with six top sides all fighting it out for the title. Last season was a marvel in that Leicester claimed an almost unthinkable triumph, but in terms of competition it was a bit of a damp squib as heavyweights like Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd were so poor.
This season they have all brought in new managers, splashed loads of cash and improved enormously, and a fascinating title battle is unfolding. Leicester are well off the pace and more likely to be in a relegation dogfight, but Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Man Utd are all in with a shout of winning the league this season.
The bookmakers are having a field day, and the betting odds on who will win it keep shifting dramatically after every weekend. Man City were heavy preseason favourites after bringing in Pep Guardiola, the world’s most coveted manager, and spending a tonne of money to improve what was already probably the strongest squad in the Premiership. Six consecutive wins made the betting odds shrink drastically on them, but they have since endured a rocky spell and – despite a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out – have now won just eight of 12 and are third in the table.
It is ferociously tight though: Chelsea are top on 28 points, Liverpool are ahead of Man City on goal difference as both have 27 points, then Arsenal are on 25, Tottenham are on 24 and Man Utd are back on 19. Utd look like they might struggle defensively, so if you rule them out that leaves five teams with just four points separating them at the tail end of November. That is very exciting for neutrals, but nail bitingly tight for the fans of each club.
The momentum is really with Chelsea right now. It was all doom and gloom after they lost 3-0 to Arsenal, but Antonio Conte switched the system to three at the back and they have since won six on the bounce to go top. If they keep playing like this and strengthen in January, the title is theirs. They don’t have the distraction of European football – as do Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City – and can concentrate solely on the league. Liverpool will be a threat as they also are spared gruelling midweek European games, but while they are sensational going forwards, their defence could let them down over the course of the season.
Arsenal have faltered of late. They have some great players and have dug out some battling draws, but they miss Santi Cazorla badly and if he does not play the majority of the games between now and the end of the season they are likely to fall away. Tottenham are still unbeaten and they are incredibly difficult to break down. Now that Harry Kane is back and scoring they also have bite up front, and look a decent outside bet at 18/1. But right now it looks like Chelsea and City may break away from the others, and Chelsea have the mental strength to cope, so the 13/5 on offer on them as second favourites in the betting odds chart looks a good bet right now.
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