In 25 of the 27 seasons since the Premier League was formed, Liverpool’s tally of 97 points would have won them the title. Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, they ran into the only team ever to score more points, Pep’s Manchester City. Fresh off a 100-point season in 17/18, City would finish the season with 14 straight league wins to secure 98 points and a second successive league title.
The fight for the remaining Champions League places would prove a close one. Chelsea finished 3rd, just one point ahead of Tottenham in 4th. North London rivals Arsenal were a point and a place back in 5th. Manchester United rounded out the Top 6 and took the final Europa League group stage place. Wolves finished an impressive return to the top flight by finishing 7th and making it to the Europa League qualifiers.
At the bottom of the table, Huddersfield and Fulham would have their fates settled relatively early. Fulham proving to have the worst defence in the league, while Huddersfield could only manage three wins. Cardiff and Brighton took their battle for survival to the penultimate game of the season, with a loss to Crystal Palace sealing relegation for Cardiff.
MANCHESTER CITY – Last season’s winners are favourites to repeat the feat and make it a three-peat by securing their third title in a row. Captain and club legend Vincent Kompany may have left without a direct replacement, but City have plenty of players to fill his role, both on and off the pitch. Club stalwart David Silva takes the captain’s armband while Fernandinho prepares to step into central defence when needed – with new record signing Rodri set to anchor the defence. Guardiola will hope to get a full season out of Kevin De Bruyne this time out, and bank on Raheem Sterling continuing his ascension to the top of the game.
LIVERPOOL – Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola can talk about an open title race all they want; nobody is buying it. Liverpool finished 25 points ahead of third-placed Chelsea last term. And with yet another change of manager and a transfer ban, The Blues are unlikely to overhaul them. Speaking of transfer bans, Liverpool seem to be operating under an almost self-imposed ban. Their signings having been restricted to teenagers and a back-up goalkeeper on a free transfer. Keep their first XI – and in particular the front three – fit, and there’s no reason The Reds can’t push City all the way in the league once more. Especially if City if allow themselves to get distracted in pursuit of feat that Klopp’s men managed last season, and City haven’t thus far come close to; winning the Champions League.
SHEFFIELD UNITED / NORWICH CITY – Of course, the recently promoted sides are always favourites to be relegated back to whence they came. Over the past 10 seasons, on average, one of the three promoted sides will manage to survive. This time around, that side is likely to be Aston Villa, due to the heavy investment that the club has made in its playing staff – of note, Fulham did similar last year.
Norwich were the highest scoring side in the Championship last season thanks to their attacking brand of football. Unfortunately, they were also pretty open at the back, conceding 57 goals in their league campaign. If they are to survive, they’ll need to be much more solid. Sheffield Utd were very much the opposite and finished the season with the best defensive record in the division. They’ll be hoping that captain Billy Sharp will be able to fire in enough goals to keep them up.
BURNLEY / BRIGHTON – If one of the promoted sides is likely to stay up, then one of the existing teams is likely to go down. The most likely suspects are Burnley and Brighton, with neither side having invested heavily in new players in the transfer window. Both sides struggle to score goals and this will perhaps be the cause of their downfall. Brighton are as reliant as ever on ageing striker Glenn Murray, who was responsible for over a third of their goals last season. Burnley and shots on goal – at either end – do not go hand in hand. Last season no side had few shots than The Clarets. On the plus side, no side allowed fewer shots than Sean Dyche’s men. And when they did create chances, those chances were normally of high quality. They’ll be hoping that returning striker Jay Rodriguez can stick a few of them in the back of the net.
Manchester City are favourites to win the title at 1/2 (1.50) while Liverpool find themselves at 13/5 (3.60). Nobody else is considered to be in with a genuine shot, with Spurs the best of the rest and given odds of 18/1 (19.00) to win the Premier League. There are a number of teams grouped in as relegation candidates, Sheffield United are 2/3 (1.66), Norwich are 9/10 (1.90), Burnley and Brighton are both 13/7 (2.85) while Aston Villa are 2/1 (3.00). When it comes to topping the scoring charts, Harry Kane is favourite 4/1 (5.00). Last seasons joint top-scorers are priced as follows, Mo Salah at 5/1 (16.00), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8/1 (9.00) and Sadio Mane at 12/1 (13.00).
*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.
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