Manchester City have been made the bookmakers’ favourites for the 2019-20 Premier League season.
The new season kicks off on Friday 9 August when Liverpool host newly-promoted Norwich City at Anfield before Manchester City start the defence of their title the following day, in the evening game, at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
City are looking to become the fourth team in English football to win the top flight in three consecutive seasons, after Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United (twice). No team has ever won the English title four seasons in a row, but let’s not get too carried away just yet.
You can find odds as short as 1/2 that Pep Guardiola’s side will win the 2019-20 Premier League. That won’t come as a surprise to many following the 98 points they collected last season. They have been quite quiet in the transfer market, landing only left-back Angelino back from PSV Eindhoven, and signing holding midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid. Many feel Manchester City could do with another centre-back. Vincent Kompany has left, leaving Aymeric Laporte to be partnered by either Nicolas Otamendi or John Stones. Certainly the weakest, or only weak point, in their starting XI.
Last season’s runners-up, Liverpool, collected 97 points and won the Champions League. However, Jurgen Klopp has yet to land a single first team player for the season ahead. The Reds have brought in teenagers Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle) and Harvey Elliott (Fulham) for the future. There is still time for either side to land new players before the season starts in over a weeks’ time.
It’s very unlikely that any side is going to get close to these two. Last season, runners-up Liverpool were 25 points ahead of Chelsea in third. The four main teams looking to close the gap on the top two have hardly improved over the summer.
Chelsea have replaced Maurizio Sarri with Frank Lampard, who has just one year of managerial experience under his belt. The Blues have also lost star player Eden Hazard and are under a transfer embargo for the next two windows. Christian Pulisic has arrived from Borussia Dortmund and Michy Batshuayi is back from a loan spell at Crystal Palace, but young talents Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are injured for several months. It’s a good opportunity for Lampard to fresh young blood, such as Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham, but they are not going to make a significant impact in the title race.
Tottenham Hotspur have signed Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon to strengthen their midfield. Certainly an upgrade on Eric Dier, but is it enough to make them title contenders? No. They have a World Class player in Harry Kane, but Dele Alli has drifted off since the 2018 World Cup and Christian Eriksen doesn’t show up against the top sides. Can Heung-min Son reproduce his form of last season?
Arsenal were too inconsistent last season but with no Champions League football this season they should be able to get back into the top four. That’s if they sign a new centre-back between now and the start of the season. It’s been the obvious area they’ve needed to upgrade at for the past couple of years but neither Arsene Wenger nor Unai Emery have so far addressed the issue. Dani Ceballos should be an excellent acqusition in midfield at least.
I think Manchester United are still a mess. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn’t a tactician and Paul Pogba is still at the club. They’ve lost Ander Herrera on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and are yet to replace the Spanish international. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is an upgrade at right-back but they still need a new centre-back. Daniel James adds to the options the manager has down the wings but they still need to get the best out of Alexis Sanchez. I don’t see United being a top four side this season, let alone title contenders.
For those looking to place bets pre-season and during the season, I recommend reading James’ tips over at bettinginsiderjournal.com.