Manchester City are the 5/2 favourites to win the Premier League outright with Come On and it is easy to see why given their quality and incredible strength in depth, but it would be naive to think it’s a given that Pep Guardiola will walk the title in his debut season in England.
The Catalan coach has won six league titles in seven seasons with Barcelona and then Bayern Munich but City represents his biggest test to date. Will he be able to hit the ground running, or will it take time for him to adjust to his new surroundings?
The same can be said for 3/1 hopefuls Manchester United and 11/2 shots Chelsea with new bosses Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte respectively – and that potentially opens the door for a different challenger.
Could that be Spurs? Mauricio Pochettino is preparing for his third season at White Hart Lane and has a settled squad that pushed Leicester harder than most last season. The only new arrivals are Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama, who should both add to the side, and no big names have moved on – or are seemingly likely to.
Pochettino knows his team and may seize the advantage early on, while Guardiola, Mourinho and Conte are still trying to work out their best 11s.
Having said all of that, if either or both Manchester clubs DO find top form straight from the off any side will find it hard to keep up, so my top bet for the outright market is Spurs at 9/1 as an each way selection. Pochettino’s men are 4/1 to win the league without Man Utd and Man City if you prefer but I’ll be sticking with the outright.
At the other end of proceedings managerless Hull City are 20/33 to be relegated. I can’t make a case for their survival if their situation doesn’t improve soon and with the champions, United, Arsenal and Liverpool all to come in their opening six games they could find themselves cut adrift fairly quickly.
If Hull take one place it leaves two spots remaining but the other promoted sides should fare better. Middlesbrough have been active in the transfer market – Alvaro Negredo’s arrival is particularly eye catching, while Burnley have kept most of the side together that nearly avoided the drop two years ago and added the free-scoring Andre Gray.
After a good start last season, the Eagles struggled for much of the year and if they pick up where they left off it could be a long campaign at Selhurst Park. They’re lacking a top quality striker and if either Wilfried Zaha or Yannick Bolasie struggle for form or miss out they look a much weaker side, although the arrival of Andros Townsend may have eased that concern, but as an outside bet they could be worth the risk.