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FULL 2017-18 PREMIER LEAGUE BETTING PREVIEW
Posted by Alex King on Fri, 11/08/2017 - 13:31
It only seemed five minutes ago that Chelsea were crowned champions of England for a sixth time. But the high-octane nature of life in the Premier League means the new season is already upon us.
Some big spending has taken place, new players and clubs will look to hit the ground running in the top flight and the battle for glory and survival will be fierce.
Read on for our preview of the 2017/18 Premier League season, with odds provided by 188BET.
(Title odds: 13.0 Relegation odds: 1001)
Another season, another crossroad for Arsenal to negotiate their way through. For the first time under Arsene Wenger’s tenure as manager, the Gunners will not be competing in the Champions League. It has felt for some time that Arsenal have been regressing, and that was confirmed when they could only manage fifth in the table, one point and once place outside of the qualification spots. It will be the Europa League for Wenger’s men this term.
Not dining at Europe’s top table will be a strange experience for Wenger, and he has already made it clear that his priority will be the Premier League rather than away trips across Europe on a Thursday night. Focusing on domestic matters could help Arsenal channel everything into a Premier League title challenge, but do they have the tools required to get the job done?
You’d probably give Arsenal a B- in the transfer market so far, albeit things could change with a month still to go before the window slams shut. Wenger fluttering his eyelids at AS Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe was never likely to result in a long-term love story, with the forward seemingly having eyes only for Real Madrid.
He’s also seemingly hit a brick wall with his pursuit of Thomas Lemar, also from Monaco, with the Principality side knocking back a host of bids for the winger. Lemar would be a great recruit for Arsenal, with his direct running style certain to fit in well in the Premier League. Wenger may go in again before the window slams shut, but much will depend on Mbappe as Monaco would have no need to sell another of their rising stars if Mbappe heads to Madrid for a world-record fee.
For all that has gone wrong in the summer market for Arsenal, they have added a much-needed attacking threat to their ranks in the shape of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon. The forward has scored goals for fun in Ligue 1 and if he can translate that form to the Premier League, he will be a fantastic recruit.
Alexandre Lacazette’s chance conversion rate over the last 3 seasons:
14/15 = 34.61% ⚽️
15/16 = 23.33% ⚽️
16/17 = 38.89% ⚽️
Born finisher. pic.twitter.com/cMEc6RdKa1
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 30, 2017
Wenger has also added to his left-back ranks with the free-transfer capture of Sead Kolasinac, but the feeling is Arsenal need more recruits – particularly in central midfield with Santi Cazorla’s continuing injury problems – if they are to make an impact in the title battle.
(Title odds: 751 Relegation odds: 6.50)
After climbing through the ranks to achieve a place in the Premier League for the start of the 2015/16 season, Bournemouth have established themselves in the top flight under Eddie Howe. Last season they played an excellent brand of football and secured a ninth-place finish in the division. With some astute work in the transfer market done – Nathan Ake is a hugely promising defensive talent and Jermain Defoe is a guarantee of goals – there is no reason to believe the Cherries cannot aim for a top-ten finish once again.
(Title odds: 1501 Relegation odds: 2.10)
Brighton & Hove Albion are back in the big time, which is an achievement in itself give how close the club came to going out of business at the end of the 20th century. Sensible management established them in the Championship, and last term coach Chris Hughton got them playing slick football that earned them promotion.
How will they fare back in the top flight? Not well, if the bookmakers are to be believed as they are short in the betting to sink back down to the Championship at the first time of asking.
They have not pulled up any trees in the transfer market, which is not a criticism as it can be unwise to break the bank in a bid to stay up and pay the price later down the line. With the lack of star names, much will depend on whether Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert can score enough goals to keep the Seagulls up.
(Title odds: 1001 Relegation odds: 2.20)
Burnley kept their heads above water last term, with manager Sean Dyche inspiring his players to a 16th-place finish in the table. In forward Jon Walters and midfielder Jack Cork, Dyche has added two solid options to his squad. But you cannot escape the fact that their outstanding player, defender Michael Keane, has departed and not been replaced. If the Clarets are to keep their heads above water, gifted midfielder Steven Defour needs to have a big season.
(Title odds: 4.70 Relegation odds: 2501)
Chelsea fans will be desperate for their team not to repeat what followed their previous title win, when they went into the following campaign undercooked and failed miserably. Antonio Conte has been active in the transfer market, which was a failing of the Blues after the 2014/15 season, and although he did not get his number one attacking target in Romelu Lukaku, the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid is a more than adequate option. In Tiemoue Bakayoka, Chelsea have added more energy to their midfield and the recruit from Monaco will be a superb complementary option for N’Golo Kante – while they’ve added a talented, albeit raw, defender in Antonio Rudiger. They have moved a host of players on and do look a little light on numbers at the moment, but that will change before the window closes.
Under the superb guidance of Conte last term, Chelsea were one step ahead of the pack. They have not done anything to suggest they will regress in the new season.
(Title odds: 751 Relegation odds: 5.50)
It’s been a summer of change at Crystal Palace, with former England manager Sam Allardyce – who was parachuted in midway through last term and successfully steered them clear of danger – walking out of the club. Former Netherlands international Frank de Boer has been handed the managerial reins, and it’s likely to be a tough season ahead.
(Title odds: 91.0 Relegation odds: 101)
Things are moving fast at Everton, with new owners allowing manager Ronald Koeman to open the chequebook. Yes, the Toffees cashed in a £75 million chip in Lukaku – but that was not enough to cover the signings of Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Sandro Ramirez and Josh Bower, along with the chunky wages free-transfer signing Wayne Rooney will be commanding.
— Everton (@Everton) July 13, 2017
There is real belief that the Toffees can make a big impact in the coming season, with Rooney spearheading the charge. Ross Barkley may be heading for pastures new, but if Koeman can get the striker signing he has been talking about then there is enough quality in the ranks at Goodison Park to ruffle some feathers.
(Title odds: 2501 Relegation odds: 1.50)
It was a fairytale run last term that ended in Championship playoff glory for Huddersfield Town. David Wagner worked wonders to revive the fortunes of a club who were struggling badly the previous season, but the Premier League is a step up in class once again and it’s set to be a season of toil for the Terriers despite the major squad overhaul – spearheaded by record signing, Steve Mounie from Montpellier – having taken place.
(Title odds: 251 Relegation odds: 13.0)
Life comes at you pretty fast; Leicester City fans can attest to that. One minute you’re celebrating Premier League glory and lauding Claudio Ranieri as the greatest manager to ever don a tracksuit, the next you’re staring at a relegation fight and watching the Italian ushered out of the King Power Stadium.
No one truly expected the Foxes to be in the mix for the title last term (no one expected them to win it the previous season, either), but it was an abject defence of the crown. This season will be a true reflection of where the Foxes are in the Premier League pecking order.
Kelechi Iheanacho is a good attacking recruit from Manchester City, but doubts remain about the future of creative force Riyad Mahrez and Leicester are a team in flux.
(Title odds: 13.0 Relegation odds: 1001)
The honeymoon period was over some time ago for Jurgen Klopp; it’s time the German and Liverpool showed what their marriage is made of. Klopp is well in credit with Liverpool fans, and at times last term they produced football that was positively jaw dropping. However, they lacked consistency and only just scraped into the top four.
The Reds have added Dominic Solanke, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson to their squad, but they’ve been repeatedly rebuffed by RB Leipzig in their pursuit of Naby Keita and had to apologise to Southampton for the way they approached Virgil van Dijk. And with talk swirling over whether midfield maestro Philippe Coutinho will head out of Anfield for Barcelona, it’s a tough time for Klopp.
There’s a mass of talent in the Liverpool ranks, but they do look short of a centre-half and a left-back, at the very least, and it’s something Klopp has to address between now and the closing of the transfer window at the end of August.
(Title odds: 2.75 Relegation odds: 2501)
With a season under his belt to assess his players, expectation is high that Pep Guardiola will deliver the Premier League title to Manchester City.
After starting like a rocket last season, City fell away and ended the season without any silverware. For a club of their resources, it’s not acceptable and Guardiola knows the pressure is on to justify why the club went in so heavily to get him.
City have certainly backed their manager in the transfer market, with Guardiola bringing in full-backs Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo, midfielder Bernardo Silva and goalkeeper Ederson for a combined outlay of over £200 million. With the new recruits joining top-class talents such as Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, to name but four, it’s no surprise City are favourites for the title.
(Title odds: 4.50 Relegation odds: 1001)
If the pressure is on Guardiola to deliver, it’s a similar story across the city for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. The Portuguese delivered two trophies in his first season, the League Cup and Europa League, but their disappointing performances in the Premier League are not easily forgotten. Winning the Europa League, and the prize of Champions League qualification that came with it, glossed over the fact United finished sixth in the table – 24 points behind champions Chelsea.
Mourinho has been backed in the transfer market, with Romelu Lukaku brought in to the tune of £75 million to plunder goals. The Red Devils netted 54 goals in the league last term, the fewest of the top seven, and it was an obvious failing.
Victor Lindelof has been brought in to beef up the defence and he looks a good buy.
Nemanja Matic is the third major recruit, with the Serbian arriving from Chelsea in the hope that he can protect the defence and allow Paul Pogba the freedom to express himself.
Jose Mourinho on Nemanja Matic…
“His intelligence & his genius in the way he thinks will help him to be ready sooner rather than later.” pic.twitter.com/HmzUt74iUD
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 3, 2017
Lukaku, Lindelof and Matic are excellent additions in problem positions, but will they be enough to help United close that mammoth gap and enter the title race?
(Title odds: 501 Relegation odds: 4.50)
The third of the promoted sides and the one with the most eyes on them. Rafa Benitez did as requested and delivered promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
After previous failings under the Mike Ashley regime, can Newcastle get it right and avoid stumbling back into the Championship? At the moment, it’s a tough question to answer as Benitez has not been backed to his satisfaction.
Speaking at a fans’ Q&A, per the Daily Star, Benitez said: “So our first targets? We lost them. That is really important because these targets were what you needed.
“Now you are still going to have to have a list of players, we have a new head of recruitment, he’s doing a great job.
“Everybody is working very hard to get what we want but it’s not easy.”
Benitez has brought in new faces, Jacob Murphy from Norwich City for £12 million the most high profile, but he needs more – notably a striker – if they are to keep themselves above water.
(Title odds: 251 Relegation odds: 21.0)
It’s been a summer of upheaval at Southampton, with manager Claude Puel replaced at the helm by Mauricio Pellegrino.
Puel was shown the exit door at St Mary’s after guiding Southampton to eighth in the Premier League. It seems that being good is not good enough for Saints.
Pellegrino has arrived at a time when much talk about Southampton is concerning Virgil van Dijk. The defender wants to move, with Liverpool his preferred destination, and has been training alone.
Planning for the new season cannot be easy for Pellegrino, unsure of whether his best defender will still be at the club, and it would be some achievement were he to guide the team to a similar position to the one Puel did.
(Title odds: 751 Relegation odds: 7.50)
Stoke City are an established Premier League force under Mark Hughes, who has been at the club since 2013, but they do not seem to be progressing. Their 13th-place finish last term was their worst under the Welshman.
But Hughes has made steps to implement change, with a couple of senior figures in Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan heading for pastures new. Austria forward Marko Arnautovic has gone to West Ham, which has come as a blow to many Stoke fans, but Hughes has brought in promising defender Josh Tymon from Hull, midfielder Darren Fletcher from West Brom and centre-back Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea. He needs more, but Stoke should have enough to keep themselves out of trouble.
(Title odds: 1001 Relegation odds: 3.00)
Paul Clement arrived at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on January 3 and led them on a superb run to safety. The Swans became only the fourth team to avoid the drop after being bottom at Christmas. The joy of staying up has now been shifted to the realisation that the squad needs an overhaul. Jack Cork has left; Gylfi Sigurdsson is on the brink of heading out of the club – with Roque Mesa and the loan arrival of Tammy Abraham the only positive bits of business so far. Clement and the Swans board need to make something happen or face a year of toil.
(Title odds: 11.0 Relegation odds: 1001)
What to make of Tottenham? Last season they built on the previous campaign’s efforts and were it not for the relentless force that was Chelsea, they would have been Premier League champions. Mauricio Pochettino has assembled one of the most talented young squads in Europe, headed by Harry Kane and Dele Alli, but they are in danger of stagnating.
While their top-four rivals have been spending big, Tottenham have yet to get anyone through the door and have seen Kyle Walker depart for Manchester City for £50 million.
With a new stadium to be financed, it’s no surprise there has been some belt tightening in north London – but funds must be made available for Pochettino to spend, or all the good work could be undone.
(Title odds: 1001 Relegation odds: 2.50)
Watford finished one place above the relegation spots last term, but they went backwards towards the end of the campaign and lost six games on the spin. Manager Walter Mazzarri was axed at the end of last season, which came as no real surprise, and Marco Silva has been charged with the task of reviving their fortunes.
(Title odds:1001 Relegation odds: 6.50)
Tony Pulis led West Brom to a top-ten finish last season, but it’s not all positive at the Hawthorns.
Jay Rodriguez is their only signing of note so far, and the natives are getting extremely restless with the lack of work done in the market.
Pulis has a track record of ensuring his sides punch above their weight in the Premier League and it should be a case of Baggies fans keeping the faith.
(Title odds: 501 Relegation odds: 9.50)
West Ham kicked off last season with a huge amount of expectation, after taking residence at the Olympic Stadium. It proved to be a season of relative disappointment, as they finished outside the top ten and found it tough adapting to their new home.
Manager Slaven Bilic has moved to bolster his squad, and he’s packed it with experience. England number one Joe Hart has arrived on loan from Manchester City, and Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have joined him at the club. The latter deal is the one that will excite the fans, as the Mexican is a supreme goalscorer and should propel West Ham forwards.
The Battle for survival
Egg can be left on the face when making long-term selections, as those who backed Leicester to be relegated in 2015/16 will no doubt agree. But that’s the task at hand and sides who look set to struggle are Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield, Swansea and Watford.
Life in the top flight could be tough for the two promoted sides. The turmoil towards the end of last season and into the summer for Palace and Watford could lead to a hangover which is tough to escape, while Swansea and Burnley look like they lack the firepower to pull away from a relegation dogfight.
Pick: Huddersfield, Burnley and Watford.
Top-four contenders & winner
In the perverse world of modern-day professional football, securing a place in the top four is celebrated by some with as much gusto as winning a trophy. It speaks of the importance of the Champions League, and the battle will be fiercely fought this term.
For a long time, the big four of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United dominated the landscape. The vast wealth injected into Manchester City propelled the blue half of Manchester into the equation, while in the past few years Tottenham have muscled their way in. They will be the sides involved once again, with Everton a potential outlier provided the Toffees can get their hands on a proven goalscorer.
Guardiola has spent heavily at Manchester City, but you get the impression he has spent wisely.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 30, 2017
There could still be more additions to come between now and the closing of the transfer window at the end of August, but even with the squad he has now City look the likeliest to lift the Premier League title.
Pick: Manchester City
Golden Boot Battle
Fans’ thoughts are always going to be dominated by how their team are faring, but a subplot to catch the eye is the race to be the Premier League’s top scorer.
Harry Kane has made off with the golden boot for the past two seasons, notching 25 goals in 15/16 and going four better in 16/17. He is priced at 4.00 to top the charts again and such is his record, he would give you a run for your money. But the nagging feeling is that Tottenham may have taken their eye off the ball, with their new stadium being built, and any slackening of the relentless pace set by Mauricio Pochettino’s men could hit Kane’s output.
Sergio Aguero is arguably the most gifted goalscorer in the Premier League, he is priced at 8.00 for the golden boot, but the worry with the Argentina international is whether he will play enough games to have a fair crack at it. City boss Pep Guardiola has questioned Aguero’s workrate and he may be behind Gabriel Jesus in the pecking order.
Romelu Lukaku led the charts for much of last season, but was run out of it by the fast finish from Kane. Lukaku is now on a bigger stage at Manchester United and he looks certain to top his previous season’s tally of 25. It could be enough to get him over the line in front, for which he is priced at 5.00.
Arsenal fans like the look of Alexandre Lacazette and he is chalked up at 13.0 to top the charts. If Arsenal craft enough chances, he will score a hatful of goals.
Further down the list at 36.0 is Javier Hernandez. Chicarito is a goalscoring machine and if West Ham set their team up right and get on a roll, he will outscore more high-profile players.
Pick: Romelu Lukaku
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