The English Premier League gets under way on August 18th and the drama of 2011-12 is going to be a tough act to follow. Last season’s title race went to virtually the last kick of the season with Manchester City clinching the title on goal difference from local rivals United. Understandably, the bookmakers find it hard to look beyond the two Manchester giants for the 2012-13 title with City offered at 6-5 with William Hill ahead of United at 5-2.
City have been particularly quiet in the transfer market this summer, although there is still time for that to change. Most pundits had expected them to buy yet more big names to build on last season’s success and a late move for Van Persie cannot be ruled out. United have made signings but the biggest headlines have been made by Chelsea during the summer. The signing of Oscar followed those of Hazard and Marin as Chelsea aim to make a serious title challenge. Last season they slumped to sixth place in the League but rescued their season with FA Cup and Champions League triumphs. Bet365 offer a top price of 5-1 about the rejuvenated Blues outfit.
Arsenal’s bid for glory remains under a cloud with speculation about Van Persie’s future. After seven years without a trophy, the top price of 12-1 is unlikely to cause a stampede to the bookmaker’s door. Tottenham flattered to deceive last season and with Redknapp replaced by Villas Boas, they are virtually discarded at 25-1.
The market for relegation predictably features newly-promoted Reading (11-10 with Ladbrokes to be relegated) ahead of Southampton at 5-4. West Ham are considered less likely to face the drop at 9-4 with last season’s surprise packets, Norwich (6-4) and Swansea (2-1) surprisingly thought to be at risk. Bet365 appear to have great confidence in QPR’s prospects this season and offer 5-1 against them being relegated. They offer probably the most complete UK sportsbook as it is right now.
The managerial merry-go-round has kept everyone entertained through the summer months and there is a market on first manager to leave their post in the Premiership. Sam Allardyce (West Ham) and Steve Clarke (West Brom) are 6-1 joint-favourites with Ladbrokes. Nigel Adkins (Southampton) is at 8-1 with Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea) surprisingly short at 10-1. A lot of Spurs fans are cynical about the prospects for Andre Villas-Boas and they can hedge their bets at 25-1 about the former Blues boss being the first to get the boot.
Author Profile: Harvey Mayson+